Tobias 700- at blackmovie Festival -Switzeland

Documentários do Brasil

Documentary filmmaking is living a golden age in Brazil, where it is rooted in a very strong tradition and holds a fundamental position: the entire Brazilian cinema avant-garde took its first steps in documentary filmmaking and every truly great filmmaker has made one. Other signs of the relations between documentary and fictional films appear in the fact that almost every feature film of the past five years was based on a documentary, and that the most emblematic movies in Brazilian documentary cinema, Cabra marcado and Iracema, are hybrid films that mix mise en scène and on the spot takes.

The festival is proud to present the culmination of Brazilian documentary films. Here are some milestones that bring to mind the special features and highlights of this evolution.

Documentary films made up a large part of local production during the first decades of the 20th century and gave birth in the 1950s to a new generation of filmmakers whose practices, esthetics and concerns are at the roots of cinema novo. From then on, the documentary became the basis for all of Brazilian cinema's formal renewal. The problems entailed by extreme poverty and the social reality of a huge and fractured country were the favorite topics of these filmmakers, who used their camera as a tool to raise the awareness of the population. Under the Collor de Melo government in 1990, filmmaking came to a standstill; then in the mid-90s, new incentives were set up, bringing a revival of Brazilian documentary filmmaking.
Although the main themes remain essentially social (extreme urban or rural poverty, outcasts and violence), the "I" has made its appearance in these productions; more and more, film seeks its justification in the filmmaker's viewpoint rather than just on content. Subjectivity is sought after and asserted, even though the concept of responsibility towards Brazil's future remains very strong. "It is less irresponsible to make documentaries than it is to make fictional films", said Eduardo Coutinho at a round table on Brazilian documentaries that took place in Paris in June of 2005.

The movies presented in this section can all be defined as social films with identical themes: violence, extreme poverty and the search for dignity. However each film distinguishes itself by its unique form. From the neutral observation of Tobias 700 to Estamira's visual lyricism, a whole range of styles representative of contemporary Brazilian documentary films unfolds. These documentaries have a social or even a denunciatory character, but as their form and narrative truly serve content and enrich it with a subjective point of view, one can also speak of them as being poetic.

Tobias 700
Daniel A. Rubio
doc, Brasil, 2004, 59', Fr. subtitles

First screening in Switzerland

This documentary focuses on the occupation of a big concrete tower in the late 90' s in which almost 250 families of squatters, including elderly people and invalids, live; this group portrayal follows several key people in this representative building. The filmmaker attends the residents' meetings in which collective decisions are made, and witnesses the efforts to repair the dilapidated building, the occupation strategies and the administrative infrastructure set up in each building to ensure its security. From testimonies to collective action, he shows the dynamism and the beneficial effects on the morale that occupation brings to people who were previously without hope. A tribute to squat's beneficial effects, and a denunciation of the absence of social policies in a country that is more and more marked by inequality.
Daniel A Rubio/Brésil,

Others Brazilians films in Blackmovie festival
Marcos Prado
doc, Brasil, 2004, 115', Fr. subtitles

First screening in Switzerland

A 63 year old impoverished woman works in the huge garbage dump of Jardim Gramacho, off Rio de Janeiro. She is the queen of this place in which she has finally found some human warmth and where she battles her past traumas.
Everything in this movie is nonstandard: Estamira's path, the world of garbage, in which she spent every day of the past 20 years; the cinematography going back and forth between a beautiful, coarse grained black and white, and sequences in color that show the immensity of the dump as they would a western scenery; and finally Estamira's speech, which is made up of aphorisms like that of an old testament prophet.
Zazen Produçoes/Brésil, T + 55 21 25 35 54 06 /54 07, F + 55 21 2535 54 06,

CAC Langlois, sun 12, 8 pm - mon 13, 8 pm - sat 18, 8 pm


Jorge Bodanzky, Orlando Senna
doc, Brasil, 1974, 113', DVD, Engl. subtitles

A 14 year old teenager from an Amazonian village prostitutes herself with the men who are building the Transamazonian Highway. Taken away by a truck driver who is taking advantage of the economic windfall generated by the construction work, the young woman soon finds herself left to her own devices and to the local mafia.
The Transamazonian Highway, planned to cross the Amazonian forest from one end to the other, was meant to bring wealth and social progress to the rural populations of the Amazon. On the contrary, the filmmakers show the extreme poverty, the slavery and the economic cynicism caused by the roadwork's chaotic implementation. This hyper realistic film keeps its innovative and disturbing character in its form and contents.
Jorge Bodanzky/Brésil,

CAC Langlois, sat 18, 10 pm - CAC Simon, sun 19, 1 pm


Justiça (Justice)
Maria Ramos
doc, Brasil, 2004, 100', 35mm, Fr. subtitles

Petty crimes that are rife in poor neighborhoods are tried in Rio de Janeiro's law court. Already sentenced for burglary and drug use, a 20 year old young man finds himself back in the courtroom after losing control of a stolen car. At the same time, another teenager appears for possession of drugs and weapons. The two boys are put into dilapidated cells filled with other accused of their age while they await their sentence. Seemingly impartial, the judges condemn the juvenile delinquents with sentences that are totally out of proportion with their misdemeanors and their situation.
A neutral observer of this repressive extremism, the camera favors courtroom arguments, but also lingers on the fate of the people close to the accused. This double point of view slowly sheds a light on the shameful contradiction that exists between the judicial universe and the reality that surrounds it.
Selfmade Films/Pays-Bas, T + 31 20 305 8555, F + 31 20 305 8550,

Spoutnik, fri 17, 8 pm - sat 18, 2 pm - sun 19, 6 pm


Métallos (Peões)
Eduardo Coutinho
doc, Brasil, 2004, 85', 35mm, Fr. subtitles

First screening in Switzerland

The filmmaker questions anonymous workers from western car factories based in Brazil during the country's presidential campaign in 2002. These witnesses of a historic era recount how they participated in powerful union movements during the 1980s' dictatorship, and show their admiration for Lula, an unforgettable union leader.
Between testimonies and archival images, the film describes the iniquitous working conditions imposed by Volkswagen and others, and also lingers on the personal consequences that a political involvement can cause. A dense document that delves into a great moment in history.
Videofilmes/Brésil, T + 55 21 3094 0810,

CAC Simon, mon 13, 10 pm - CAC Langlois, tue 14, 5.30 pm - CAC Simon, sat 18, 1 pm


Nées pour être aveugles (Born to be Blind)
Roberto Berliner
doc, Brasil, 2003, 84', 35mm, Fr. subtitles

First screening in Switzerland

Three sisters, who were born blind and are now in their 50s, spend their days singing and begging in the streets of Campina Grande, a provincial town in northeastern Brazil. The filmmaker, who has discovered them and made them famous in a previous short film, follows their everyday life.
This films stresses the responsibility of a documentary filmmaker towards the people he sets in front of his camera. Born to be Blind is also a parable about the role of artistic creation in the life of the inseparable sisters. Certain that one can only be what one is born for, the three sisters owe their success to their modest and fatalistic view of life.
TvZero/Brésil, +55 21 25 39 10 60,

Scala, wed 15, 4.30 pm - thu 16, 4.30 pm - sat 18, 9.15 pm


Spoutnik, sun 12, 10.40 pm - fri 17, 4 pm - sat 18, 10.40 pm


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