In his quintessential career, his films have influenced directors and cinephiles for over 50 years. Of the most influential Brazilian films of the past five decades, at least one was directed by Santos in each decade. Inspired by neorealism, his films from the s and s depict the brutal reality of life in the favelados slums found in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, or of retirantes migrants fleeing the famine in the drought-stricken northeastern region of Brazil.
Throughout the last five decades, Santos produced and directed films of differing genres and themes.
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Also, he has been honoured by retrospectives of his work all over the world. In the s, Glauber Rocha, the most famous member of Cinema Novo generation, claimed Santos as the mentor for the movement. From Chanchada to the emergence of Cinema Novo. The cinema is a cultural expression, therefore, no better and no worse than any other, it exists within its context, expressing the life of that society where it was born.
It is a modern world, that is, I think, the backbone of the culture. He first encountered European films after the war—such as the documentaries by Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens. At the time, though, he was mostly struck by Italian neorealism, which ultimately became the most important influence on his films. While he was still a student, he started his filmmaking career with a documentary entitled Juventude in In the early s, he worked as an assistant director in the popular Brazilian comedy genre called chanchada. This experience, while allowing him to improve his documentary skills, also enabled him to get to know the different social classes from distant regions of Brazil previously unfamiliar to him.
In interviews, Santos has stated that neorealism was more a lesson in how to produce films in a country without financial resources rather than a lesson in aesthetic style.
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Filmmakers need not become dependent on complicated productions and large studios, or big budgets and the employment of famous or internationally known actors. For Santos, filmmaking was revealed as just the camera and the people in front of it.
The film depicts stories of quotidian life in Rio, such as the boys from the favela who sell peanuts at Copacabana beach. Santos is considered the filmmaker who brought to light the favela that Brazil and the world had never seen on screen before. Today, the favela is one of the landmark locations of Brazilian cinema. Santos is concerned with portraying a time and a place in a free and independent way that interacts with the world, an approach that he admits derives from his journalistic career.
Thus, the documentary style is central to Rio, 40 Graus and Rio, Zona Norte in the way they depict the daily reality of Rio. The role of the documentary in his films is just the opposite—to show this inability and to reaffirm its commitment to reality. In Glauber Rocha proclaimed that if the camera in Rio, 40 Graus narrates earnestly and explains the tragedies, the miseries and the contradictions of the great city, the camera in Rio, Zona Norte documents, questions, exposes, accumulates data and studies the environment. They show the people for the first time on Brazilian screens rather than the conventional representation of characters depicted in commercial cinema, such as in the popular comedies of chanchada or in the pseudo-classical Hollywood films produced at the Vera Cruz studio.
Cinema Novo is considered the most important and influential film movement of Brazil. Aruanda provoked an enthusiastic reaction from critics and Brazilian intellectuals. The French critic Sylvie Pierre stated that it was one of the first films to be launched around the question of the interrelation between the poverty of production and the poverty of the people.
In the movie there are two historic moments: the establishment of the village at the beginning of the century, and its current organization, where people work at manufacturing ceramic vases. The first part of the film is fictional and the second part is documentary. It exists physically and geographically but not within the institutions. Key features of the movement combine the aesthetics of poverty aesthetics of hunger with folk stories, the poetic with the political.
According to Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes, one of the most influential critics of the time, the most important meaning of the Cinema Novo to Brazilian cinema is that it reflects and creates a visual image and sound coherent to the absolute majority of the Brazilian people. Cinema Novo broke with the aesthetics of classical American cinema from the fifties. This involved the handheld camera, narrative text, purposefully contrasted photography, rough editing, diegetic music, direct sound, improvisation, and free dialogue. For filmmaker Carlos Diegues, the project of Cinema Novo is very simple, it can be summarized in the proposition: transforming film techniques of the Brazilian cinema, and changing the world.
According to Glauber Rocha, the most renowned filmmaker of the movement, the author is most responsible for the truth: the aesthetic is an ethic and its mise en scene is political. Here lies the starting point for the colonizer to understand the existence of the colonized. Here lies the tragic originality of Cinema Novo for the world cinema: our originality is our hunger, and our greatest woe is that, because it is felt, this hunger is not understood. Glauber Rocha believes that violence is the ideal way to make the world realize the existence of an underdeveloped culture, such as Brazilian culture.
Cinema Novo is the result of a politics of colonization that may trigger an independent movement toward a unique and new approach. The movement toward a Brazilian culture independent from the culture of the colonizers is an old concern for Brazilian artists. The best-known attempt at this is the modernist movement of He told me it was the guarantee of the practice of the possible.
This man was called Galli Matias.
I ate him. The violence of the colonizer against the colonized is now reversed. Brazilian culture will be born from these movements. It will emerge from its own revolutionary violence.
American critics considered the film a black comedy about European colonialism as well as a bitter historical commentary. However, the film reveals much more about Brazilian culture and political values than these foreign critics had the ability to perceive.
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For instance, the film provides a strong political reaction against the military dictatorship in Latin America financed by the United States. From the , the dictatorship had urged national filmmakers to suppress any kind of socio-political manifestations. While the film was set in the 16 th century, when the Europeans were disputing the colonization of Brazil, it is also drawing parallels with what the Americans were doing in South America in the s.
According to their culture, it should eat the enemy to acquire all of its powers, such as the knowledge on how to use gunpowder and cannons. With the exception of the letter reading, the film is all spoken in the Tupi language. When I film, I mean the physical act of writing, shooting and editing when we touch the film itself , in this moment, I think I am able to change something in the world around me. For a great part of his career, Santos has dedicated his time to writing.
He has written practically all the screenplays to his films, the large majority of which were drawn from literary works by Brazilian authors. This is the case with Barren Lives , written by the acclaimed and successful writer Graciliano Ramos. Shot in natural settings in quasi documentary mode, the open space in Barren Lives , its slow time, the silences, the monotonous sound of vibrating oxcarts, and human drama in and at the center of everything, is all narrated in a simple and bare way.
What impresses most in Barren Lives is the innovative narrative use of ambient sounds and noises working musically to punctuate the unfolding of the sequences.
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This is reminiscent of the high contrast of northeast Brazilian woodcuts, photographic elements already accentuated in Aruanda. With Barren Lives , Brazilian cinema demonstrates that fiction and reality overlap, intertwine and become the raw material of a fundamental aspect of Brazilian authenticity. Santos took different cinematic approaches to the many stories adapted from literature.
His first encounter with adaptation was Boca de Ouro based on a theatrical text from the enigmatic and middle class chronicle writer, Nelson Rodrigues. The film depicts a group of youths under the influence of disparate ideologies. It was nearly all improvised and the director would write the dialogue and the scenes as filming progressed. However, as happens with any metaphorical discourse pushed to the edge, the analogies in some films of Cinema Novo had become so obtuse and fragmented that the public could no longer comprehend their allusions.
As perhaps happened in the case of Azyllo Muito Louco. In this film, Santos submerged himself in the rich and intense world of Brazilian mysticism and the popular religions of the lower classes. In Memoirs he transposes the novel to the screen almost in a literal sense, not deviating much from the original story. Neither film was well received by the critics or the public on their respective releases, however, they were produced in a period when Brazilian cinema was experiencing a major crisis. The only commitment of documentary is with the reality that a filmmaker wants to show, or rather, to interpret.
I found singing to be a fantastic tool in correcting my bad pronunciation and developing a more authentic accent when speaking Spanish and Portuguese.
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This is a great song to start with if you want to improve your Brazilian accent. And while you may not be able to copy exactly his seductive, gravelly cadence, Seu Jorge can teach you a lot about how words fuse together in relaxed Portuguese speech. This song should be quite a challenge because of its tempo, and may feel like a tongue twister at times.
My advice is to learn it line by line and chant each line slowly, building up the pace gradually until you can keep up with the track. Rap is great for learning pronunciation — the speed and rhythm patterns can get pretty similar to that of normal speech. This song about unrequited lust that put Romeo Santos and his former group Aventura on the map is a great example of how Spanish speakers tend to squish words together when speaking quickly.
The rhythm of the vocal lines in the verses is staccato, with plenty of syllables packed into each line, so this one may prove quite a challenge but the pay off is huge. Shock - Ana Tijoux.