Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Júlio Bressane &/or the most imaginative Brazilian film maker after Glauber Rocha

Agonia (1978);
Sermões (1989);
A Erva do Rato (2008);
Matou a Família e Foi ao Cinema (1969);
Cara a Cara (1967);
Filme de Amor (2003);

"... com cinquenta anos, sem um bilhete, em vez de ir ao dentista, jogou-se pela janela do apartamento..."
Narrador (Os Obedientes/Legião Estrangeira)
"... the people who are very talented, but whose talents are hard to define and almost impossible to market. That was the 'staff' of Andy Warhol Enterprises... I didn't expect the movies we were doing to be commercial. It was enough that the art had gone into the stream of commerce, out into the real world."
Andy Warhol

It is unbelievable that Bressane's movies are shown at RAI Italia but not at #tvplimplim. Rede Globo is indeed the avantgarde of ergonomic conservatism in Latin America (although one should recognize they are able to produce first-rate journalism & interesting soap operas).

Glauber Rocha's and Júlio Bressane's films are very unequal. They were not realized under ideal conditions and have the most ridiculous technical flaws (caused or at least aggravated by official neglect and mishandling). They are on the other hand boldly experimental, politically challenging and have an almost "hysterical"/"histrionic" flavour, which is very peculiar and common to other Brazilian directors such as Arnaldo Jabor.
There was a real "vision" behind some of their works (see, for instance, Bressane's ideas concerning his movie São Jerônimo in Cinemancia, Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 2000). ***It is however possible to doubt whether the results as a whole (and in the formats nowadays available) live up to the expectations. A lesson to be learned from these directors is—paradoxically—that cinema as a medium has indeed some basic principles and specific modes of operations one cannot handle so freely. You might play the piano even with boxing gloves, but the sound produced is going to be affected (brutally). And perhaps some of the problems were caused by a lack of awareness, self-criticism and discipline. Or rather this turned out a way to let Life, the Outside/Dehors—the stuff that John Cage called "Silence" and "Nothing" (which is of course the very opposite of nothing), touch and affect the work (the very reason that might have troubled official distribution and exhibition).
Whatever is at issue, the key of the matter seems not subjective spontaneity. The proof is A Erva do Rato (2008), one of Bressane's most fancy but also convincing films, which is in addition decidedly "restrained" technically speaking. One of the secrets of this film is, for instance, a limited amplitude of sound which allowed the focus and deep exploration of a rich range of details (the soundtrack was composed by Guilherme Vaz; Cristiano Maciel and Virginia Flores were responsible for the sound and sound edition).
Considering however the other movies (specially the most elaborated ones), the kind of "ideogramatic" juxtaposition and temporal "modulation" Ismail Xavier attributes to Bressane's cinema seems more programmatic than real. It is there and it is not. 

See also:- Sonatine (Takeshi Kitano, 1993);

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