Cinema, History and Culture in Brazil
This course looks into major topics of Brazilian culture and history since 1960. The course is taught in Portuguese but most of our readings will be available in both English and Portuguese. Attention will given to language development in both written and spoken form. The topics we will examine include the radicalization of politics in the 1960s, military dictatorship and the return to democracy, problems of marginalization and criminality in the contemporary city, the ascension of Lula (who was a factory worker and union organizer) to the presidency, and notable recent events such as the street protests of June 2013 and the lesser known but fascinating phenomenon that became known as the "rolezinhos," in which massive numbers of youth from poor and predominantly non-white neighborhoods peacefully occupied the shopping malls of the socio-economic elites. We will approach these topics usingcinema (including documentaries, fictional films, and even some experimental hybrid works) as our primary texts. We will therefore deal simultaneously with topics in the history of contemporary Brazil and the history of Brazilian cinema, with attention to some of Brazil's most notable filmmakers and film movements and the ideologies behind their aesthetic and production choices. Our secondary readings will come from a variety of sources including journalism, history, essays, and several works of literature, such as short stories by Rubem Fonseca, a crime-fiction writer who was once the police commissioner for the city of Rio de Janeiro.