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GLAUBER ROCHA

(Glauber Andrade)

Brazil

Born: Vitoria da Conquista, Bahia, Brazil, 14 March 1938.
Died: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22 August 1981.


As filmmaker, theoretician and critic, Rocha was the leader of Brazil's influential cinema nôvo movement. "The Brazilian public," Rocha noted, "is enslaved by the language of foreign films—particularly North American movies." Such cultural imperialism fostered an inferiority complex on the part of Brazilian cinema, which thus failed to confront the social realities of a country in which unemployment and illiteracy reached fifty percent. Rocha's aim was to instill cultural nationalism through a polemical, noncommercial cinema. The message in his films was that violence could transform a social order whose "essence" was hunger. As he explained in his 1965 manifesto, The Aesthetic of Hunger: "The moment of violence is the moment when the coloniser becomes aware of the existence of the colonised."

Rocha developed his lyrical, allegorical and self-reflexive style in reaction to Euro-American cinematic realism. His films feature a highly baroque mise-en-scène, frenetic camera movement, and an Eisensteinian use of montage. His characters do not reflect moral absolutes but are instead complex and protean, while also representative of larger historical forces.

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