Dangerous, divine, and marvelous? The legacy of the 1960s in the political cinema of Europe and Brazil

Heise, T.S. and Tudor, A. (2013) Dangerous, divine, and marvelous? The legacy of the 1960s in the political cinema of Europe and Brazil. Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture, 6(1), pp. 82-100. (doi: 10.1080/17541328.2013.782196)

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The experience of the 1960s had a profound influence on both politicized cinema and on the critical discourse surrounding it. This article explores that influence and its subsequent legacy in the comparative contexts of Brazil and Europe. In Europe the most striking developments were to be seen in France after 1968, most particularly in the “revolutionary cinema” of Jean-Luc Godard during his involvement with the Dziga-Vertov Group. At the same time, the French film journals Cahiers du Cinéma and Cinéthique sought to theorize the forms of radical cinema within a materialist perspective. By examining Godard’s politico-aesthetic trajectory, and by developing the Cahiers classification of the forms taken by political cinema, we provide a basis for understanding developments in post-1960s European political cinema. In Brazil, with its increasingly repressive regimes after 1964, the impact of the 1960s was more far-reaching. The early 1960s saw the emergence of Cinema Novo, a radical movement of filmmakers among whom the best known figure was Glauber Rocha. By examining Rocha’s filmmaking career, as well as some aspects of his writings, we seek to understand the rather different route traveled by radical cinema in Brazil and, indeed, in Latin America more generally. Here the most significant theorization is to be found in the 1969 Third Cinema manifesto formulated by the Argentinean filmmakers Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino. We then trace the subsequent trajectory of politicized filmmaking in both Europe and Brazil. In both cases there has been a marked retreat from the radicalism in form and content exemplified in the films of Godard and Rocha, with a broadly reformist political cinema prevailing. We argue, however, that there remains a vibrant tradition of radical filmmaking which functions primarily in the area of documentary, and that it is here that the future of political cinema lies.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heise, Dr Tatiana
Authors: Heise, T.S., and Tudor, A.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Hispanic Studies
Journal Name:Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture
ISSN (Online):1754-1336
Published Online:23 May 2013

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