Allegories of Underdevelopment: Aesthetics and Politics in Modern Brazilian Cinema

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University of Minnesota Press, 1997 - History - 285 pages
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" 'A camera in the hand and ideas in the head' was the primary axiom of the young originators of Brazil's Cinema Novo. This movement of the 1960s and early 1970s overcame technical constraints and produced films on minimal budgets. In Allegories of Underdevelopment, Ismail Xavier examines a number of these films, arguing that they served to represent a nation undergoing a political and social transformation into modernity. Its best-known voice, filmmaker Glauber Rocha claimed that Cinema Novo was driven by an "aesthetics of hunger." This scarcity of means demanded new cinematic approaches that eventually gave rise to a legitimate and unique Third World cinema. Xavier stands in the vanguard of scholars presenting and interpreting these revolutionary films - from the masterworks of Rocha to the groundbreaking experiments of Julio Bressane, Rogério Sganzerla, Andrea Tonacci and Arthur Omar - to an English-speaking audience. Focusing on each filmmaker's use of narrative allegories for the "conservative modernization" Brazil and other nations underwent in the 1960s and 1970s, Xavier asks questions relating to the connection between film and history. He examines the way Cinema Novo transformed Brazil's cultural memory and charts the controversial roles that Marginal Cinema and Tropicalism played in this process. Among the films he discusses are Black God, White Devil, Land in Anguish, Red Light Bandit, Macunaíma, Antônio das Mortes, The Angel Is Born, and Killed the Family and Went to the Movies." -- Book cover.

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