From Nelson Pereira dos Santos’s Vidas Secas (1963) to Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s Cidade de Deus (2002), Brazilian cinema has a long history of depicting individuals usually eclipsed by the big screen. Despite this, only two out of every 10 Brazilian movies released between 2002 and 2012 featured Black women, and female filmmakers in Latin America at large still contend with obstacles and challenges not faced by their male peers. A forthcoming film series organized by critic and Hyperallergic contributor Ela Bittencourt takes a stand against these biases by presenting stories of resilience and uprising told through the lens of Brazilian female filmmakers, paying special attention to the lives of Black Brazilians.
Co-presented by Cinema Tropical and the Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), Visions of Resistance: Recent Films by Brazilian Women Directors includes ten documentary, hybrid, and short films. They will be shown at the Bartos Screening Room at MoMI on the weekend of February 8-9, and Bittencourt will be present to introduce each screening.
The marathon kicks off with Block (2018), directed by Victória Álvares and Quentin Delaroche, a documentary about the national trucker strikes in Brazil that took place weeks before the election of right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro. The screening will be preceded by a short film about the country’s sem teto (homeless) movement, Tell This to Those Who Say We’ve Been Defeated (2019), directed by Aiano Bemfica, Camila Bastos, Cris Araújo, and Pedro Maia de Brito. The pairing of these two films juxtaposes narratives about the ascent of oppressive powers and those who fall victim to them.
Glenda Nicácio and Ary Rosa’s Café com Canela looks with candor and compassion at the Black middle class in Brazil, a group rarely depicted in cinema. (In 2017, the movie became the first feature to be co-directed by a Black Brazilian woman, Nicácio.)
Visions of Resistance also homes in on Afro-descendant traditions and experiences. The short film Mangrove (2018), directed by Amaranta Cesar, captures life in a Brazilian quilombo, a community founded by fugitive slaves. Everlane Morães’s Pattaki (2018), filmed in Cuba by night, tells the story of a city stricken by water scarcity whose inhabitants are hypnotized by the Yoruba sea spirit Yemaya.
“Despite historical prejudice and neoconservative backlash, a new generation of Brazilian women have broken through, producing bold, politically engaged, formally adventurous works of cinema,” writes Bittencourt in her press release for the series.
Tickets are $15 ($11 for seniors and students, and $9 for youth ages 3–17) and can be purchased here. There may be free or discounted tickets available to members of the museum (contact [email protected] for questions regarding online reservations.)
When: February 8-9
Where: Bartos Screening Room of the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY)