Brazil: Images and Identities in Film

The Council on Latin American Studies and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese will present a festival of films from and about Brazil, beginning Tuesday, February 25. All films will be shown in Mason Lab, 9 Hillhouse Avenue, Room 211, at 7:00 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

“We aim to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about Brazil through this series,” says Seth Garfield, director of undergraduate studies for the Council on Latin American Studies. “These films demonstrate the historical complexity, the diversity of race, ethnicity, regionalism, and politics in Brazil.”

Mr. Garfield and Lidia Santos, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese, are organizers of the series.

February 25

“Gaijin,” Tizuka Yamasaki, 1979, 105 min. Portuguese and Japanese with English subtitles. A moving chronicle of Japanese emigration to Brazil at the turn of the century, the film centers on a young woman who came to seek her fortune on the coffee plantations of the New World, along with hundreds of her countrymen. She –and they– found instead an alienating, exploitative society controlled by the wealthy few. An introduction to the film will be provided by Naomi Hoki Moniz, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University; and Haquira Osakabe, Institution of Language Studies, UNICAMP, Brazil.

March 4

“It’s All True,” Orson Welles, 1993, 111 min. English. Orson Welles was sent as a cultural envoy to Brazil during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency as part of the “Good Neighbor Policy” towards Latin America. In filming the struggles of Northeastern Brazilian fishermen for social justice and documenting popular celebrations of Carnival, he rankled both Brazilian government officials and Hollywood moguls. The project was scrapped. Years later, Welles’s haunting, beautiful depiction of Brazil in the 1940s was put together with an introduction about the making of the documentary, and “It’s All True” is the result. The film will be introduced by Linda-Anne Rebhun, Department of Anthropology, Yale University.

April 1

“Carmen Miranda: Bananas Is My Business,” Helena Solberg, 1995, 90 min. English. Archival footage, film clips, dramatic re-enactments and interviews document the life story and lasting influence of Carmen Miranda, the “Brazilian Bombshell” who took Hollywood by storm in the 1940s. This entertaining and interesting movie won Best Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival and the Film Critics’ Award at the Brazilian Film Festival. An introduction will be provided by the film’s director, Helena Solberg.

April 8

“Bye Bye Brazil,” Carlos Diegues, 1980, 110 min. Portuguese with subtitles. The story follows a small-time theatrical troupe as they ply the dusty back roads of Brazil performing vaudeville acts and magic shows. A road movie with an upbeat political tone, “Bye Bye Brazil” is perhaps the most successful example of the fusion of Cinema Novo experimentalism with other entertainment forms. Filmed over 9,000 miles of Brazil, Diegues’ film captures a vibrant country as few have done before. An introduction to the film will be provided by Lidia Santos, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Yale University.

April 15

“Amazon Journal,” Geoffrey O’Connor, 1996, 59 min. English. This film provides the first-person account of a documentary filmmaker’s experiences recording turbulent political events in the Brazilian Amazon. The work documents important news stories of the last decade and reveals the effects of white man’s preconceptions of Indians as “primitives” and “noble savages” upon the indigenous rights movement in Brazil during the 1990s. An introduction to the film will be provided by Seth Garfield, Department of History, Yale University.

For more information contact the Council at 432-3422.

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Gila Reinstein:, 203-432-1325