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A serto of migrants, flight and affect: Genealogies of place and image in Cinema Novo and contemporary Brazilian cinema

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Analysing two contemporary Brazilian films set in the Northeastern backlands and focusing on the films' use of spatial practices involving flight and migration, this essay argues that spatial practices are instrumental in articulating new narrative possibilities that imagine the backlands as a locus of change and destabilization. The essay outlines two cultural formations: first, the role of spatial practices (migration, flight, settlement and conquest) in processes of imagining Brazilian cultural identity and modernization, and second, the 1960s Cinema Novo movement's definition of a critical poetics by revisiting the role of love in mainstream cinema and its use of this element to create new narrative possibilities, a crucial but often overlooked aspect of the movement's subversion of social and cinematographic norms. This close reading of the films also historicizes them in relation to the Cinema Novo's approach to the Northeast.

Keywords: Cinema Novo and love stories; change and destabilization; contemporary Brazilian cinema; landscape and spatial practices in film

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of South Carolina.

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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