Wednesday, 23 September 2015

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19 April 1970 - Brazilian country music royalty in the persons of Tião Carreiro & Pardinho - probably the best sertanejo duo in the history of musica caipira plus country comedians Simplicio, Saracura and Nha Barbina... they're all there. I wish I had watched it. I wonder if it's still in existence. 

19 April 1970 - Anselmo Duarte's 'Quelé do Pajeú' was supposedly the very first Brazilian production made in 70mm... 

10 May 1970 - TV soap-opera turned into a film: 'Beto Rockfeller' had been an artistic breakthrough on TV... it is doubtful that it did the same at the silver screen. Premieres on 19 May 1970.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

1 9 6 7 - 1 9 6 8

4 June 1967 - Glauber Rocha's 'Terra em transe' is finally released after having won plaudits at Cannes and other places. 
5 June 1967 - Brazilian first TV movie 'Vigilante Rodoviário' spawns another sequel, this time called 'Missão secreta' (Secret mission) with policeman Carlos Miranda mounted on his 1952 Harley-Davidson or driving a Brazilian 1959 Simca-Chambord sedan always accompanied by faithful Lobo, his German shepherd dog. All the action took place around Rodovia Anhanguera km. 38 in the outskirts of Sao Paulo. The TV series started broadcasting on Wednesday, 3 January 1962 on TV Tupi. 

25 June 1967 - OESP review of 'Os Incriveis neste mundo louco' - the adventures of rock-band Os Incriveis shot by their manager Brancato Jr. who for a moment thought he was Richard Lester filming the Fab-4's 'A hard day's night'. The final product is dreadful.  

24 December 1967 - Carlos Hugo Christensen's 'O menino e o vento' based on a book by Anibal Machado; at Cine Gazetinha, Mario Fiorani's 'O engano' (The mistake) with Marisa Urban, Claudio Marzo, Helena Ignez etc.  
24 December 1967 - at Cine Luxor that projected MGM films Jacqueline Myrna stars in 'Amor na selva' (Love in the jungle) where she plays some sort of a female-Tarzan called Tarzana. Jee, what kind of trash is that?
24 December 1967 - 'Proezas de Satanás na Vila de Leva-e-Traz' with original music by Caetano Veloso.

10 March 1968 - OESP's review of 'Bebel, a garota propaganda' written by Carlos M. Motta.

1 September 1968 - Ronaldo Lupo is back after a long time away from the silver-screen with 'As aventuras de Chico Valente' with Luely Figueiró, Renata Fronzi, Maria Pompeu and Wilza Carla.

30 September 1968 - actor-directo Jece Valadão who became famous impersonating a 'cafajeste' (a scoundrel) goes back to the same portrayal... now 'As 7 faces de um cafajeste' (The 7 faces of a scoundrel) featuring seven great actresses among them Odete Lara, Georgia Quental and Norma Blum. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Chanchada, schweinerein, ribaldry

Journalist Aaron Cutler has written an interesting article about the musical-comedy-films made mainly in Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s and 1950s the so-called CHANCHADA aka Schweinerein meaning ribaldry. Here's the article published on 30 October 2011. 

How many readers have heard of Atlântida Cinematográfica? The studio opened in Rio de Janeiro in 1941, and grew popular over the next two decades for its stream of musical comedy films called quaintly chanchadas (ribaldry). These were light, exciting black-and-white musical comedies, often Hollywood parodies. At its height, Atlântida would put out five a year using the same small group of directors and actors. Don't think of them as cheap rush jobs, though. On the contrary, these well-made movies are joys.

This becomes clear from one of the first shots of Atlântida founder-producer-director José Carlos Burle's 1953 film Carnaval Atlântida, one of three chanchadas I watched Thursday in good Cinemateca Brasileira prints. (A fourth, 'Sputnik Man', also screened.) The camera moves toward a door with the name "Cecílio B. De Milho" on it, and we see the growling, pacing, cigar-chomping studio boss (Renato Restier) inside. He's making an epic about the Trojan War. He needs box office, baby, and he needs a star to get it, but against his better judgment goes with two unknowns. The first, a moon-eyed, mustachioed, bow-tied fop (José Lewgoy), is enlisted to play Paris. The second, meek Professor Xenofontes (Oscarito), teaches classical history at a girls' school, and is thus the best possible person to play Helen of Troy. Yet when it comes time to shoot, our leads refuse to kiss each other, wrestling each other to the ground instead, and destroying fake palm trees as they do.

The rubber-faced Oscarito (real name Oscar Lorenzo Jacinto de la Imaculada Concepción Teresa Diaz) was a frequent Atlântida lead. His flailing arm movements inside a box he seems to have drawn around himself recall Chaplin's gestures; his leaping mouth and eyebrows, set into scared commotion by women, call to mind Jerry Lewis's. Yet he's closer to Frank Tashlin's Lewis than to the one Lewis directed himself, an agent of chaos who nonetheless belongs within society. In 'Carnaval Atlantida's show-stopping song-and-dance finale, he stands at the front of a large group, with a lovely lady holding him. He's pressed a little closer than he'd probably prefer, but still seems like he's having a wonderful time.

"Why do you have to do a serious Helen of Troy movie? Why can't you make a musical?" someone asks De Milho. He does, and the film we're watching follows suit, its last 15 minutes an extended stand-alone number as in 1951's 'An American in Paris'. Yet while the sequence in the Hollywood film is a character's fantasy, the chanchada makes no such pretense; 'Carnaval Atlantida' works more like Hollywood's earlier backstage musicals, in which the show is the group's way of continuing to have fun.

Another important group member is a tiny black actor-singer-dancer, Sebastião Bernardes de Souza Prata, who went by the stage name of Grande Otelo. In blessed contrast to Hollywood's racial divisions, Grande Otelo's skin color was basically a nonissue on screen, and he often teamed with Oscarito to form a lively comic pair. In 'Carnaval Atlantida', he plays a mischievous, false-beard-wearing clown who locks Oscarito's professor inside a steam bath; in 1954's 'Matar ou correr' (Kill or run), a 'High Noon', he plays deputy Cisco Kada to Kid Bolha, Oscarito's cowardly sheriff. Kada tries to shove the Kid onto a horse, and gets trapped between the other man's legs in the process; once they untangle, he excitedly fires gunshots into the air, which scares the horse into riding out of control.

Like in the 1952 Fred Zinneman film, the sheriff here waits to confront a bandit (José Lewgoy again) that he once locked up. Unlike the still, sweating Gary Cooper, though, Oscarito throws his hands all over himself, and eats as much paper as possible to try to keep calm. 'Matar ou correr's message also differs from its predecessor's; while Cooper's tin star must face the villains alone, Oscarito's learns that no man is an island. In 'High Noon', Grace Kelly learns, looking forward, that you sometimes must shoot people; 'Kill or run's female lead (Inalda de Carvalho) blasts at bad guys repeatedly, turning her head each time she fires, then looking back with a smile to see what she's hit.

To show the theme of group solidarity, director Carlos Manga (promoted after directing 'Carnaval Atlantida's musical sequences) arranges his group shots elegantly and beautifully, placing people at different, overlapping points throughout the frame to give a sense of depth of field. The cowboys address each other at angles, roaming throughout the bar or jail space while drinking, the details of guns, farm tools, and bits of everyday life kept in focus behind them the whole time. This is very different from 'High Noon', which prefers one- or two-shots and frames people talking in straight lines. Its style is closer to that of Howard Hawks's 'Rio Bravo', a great response to 'High Noon', even more impressive for doing what Hawks did five years earlier.

A key western staple is the climactic gunfight, in which the hero duels the villain and proves his courage. 'Matar ou correr' feels no need to prove this; the Kid is a hero in spite of himself, and in fumbling for his gun accidentally shoots the bad guy in the hand. He can then be fully happy in the community where he belongs. In contrast to the rigorously ordered social codes of many westerns, with people ordered along lines of race, class, and sex, everyone celebrates together in 'Kill or run' with a carnival spirit. The ending even spots up the western's implicit homoeroticism, as Cisco and the Kid see an amorous couple and, overjoyed, start making out.

Oscarito appears Otelo-less in the same year's 'Nem Sansão, nem Dalila' ('Neither Samsom nor Delilah', which Manga also directed. The film's first 10 minutes could be called 'Barbershop madness', as Oscarito's scrawny shaver lifts the wig off of a big, burly, bald client who in his outraged vanity proceeds to wreck the place. The little fellow drives away, and crashes into a house where a scientist has built a time machine, hurtling him back to ancient times. He has held onto the wig, which now gives him super strength; he's found the power to impress people, and political candidacy follows. He strides beneath a banner proclaiming "Samson - Man of Action," dictating to his secretary as she writes with hammer and chisel. The campaign plans real progress for its backward constituency; its leader cries out, "I'm going to make a film industry, and only one state bank!"

Like a lot of contemporaneous Hollywood comedies (including the best Tashlin-Lewis film, 'Artists and Models', 'Neither Samson nor Delilah' eventually turns into an action movie. Each person and object gets the chance to cause a little havoc, including the hero's jeep, which returns to send a gigantic, solemn statue crashing into frame. Manga organizes the destruction through clean framing and editing, which makes it funnier. It's almost needless to say that this film is better than any of the Biblical epics it sends up, just as 'Carnaval Atlantida's musical looks better than its Trojan tripe. But I'd go even further, and call Manga a case for further study; more films could show him to be as gifted a comic filmmaker as the best American clowners of the 1950s and 1960s (Tashlin, Blake Edwards, and Billy Wilder).
These three films were the first Atlântida films I'd seen, and first chanchadas. (A sex-heavy variant called pornochanchada emerged in the 1970s.) 

I'd like to see many more, including Manga-Oscarito pairings like 1953's 'Double the noise' (A dupla do barulho), 1955's 'War on Samba' ('Guerra ao samba'), 1956's 'Sprouts College' (Colégio de brotos), 1959's 'This is my million' (Esse milhão é meu), and 1957's 'De vento em pop' (translated, this 1957 prizewinner might be 'In full swing'). 

Though well-known and beloved in Brazil, these films sorely need greater international exposure. Film historians, programmers, and critics can get so caught up in researching the American studio system that they don't realize other national cinemas not just studied and imitated Hollywood filmmaking, but did it better.

The Sao Paulo International Film Festival run as of 3rd November 2011. 

'Carnaval Atlantida', 'Kill or run' (Matar ou correr) and 'Neither Samson nor Delilah' (Nem Sansão, nem Dalila). Sao Paulo International Film Festival 2011.  

Saturday, 28 February 2015

1 9 6 6

13 February 1966 - As late as 1966, Brazilians still made movies to be released in summer as part of Carnaval's festivities. Carnaval had been gradually changing over the years from a real popular street party to a more organized state affair. Chacrinha was a very popular MC who copied Harpo Marx's dress code and gestures; Costinha was a comedian who availed himself of nervoso tics to extract the maximum laughs out of his sexual innuendos.  Victor Limas's '007 e meio no carnaval' (007 and a half at Carnaval) was a poor send-up of the James Bond saga.

17 July 1966 - based on a 1932 book by Jose Lins do Rego, at Cine Normandie 'Menino de engenho' produced by Glauber Rocha and directed by Walter Lima Jr.

24 July 1966 - torch-song singer Maysa is back in S.Paulo for only 1 night (26 July 1966) after having lived in Europe for a few years; Maxim Gorki's 'Pequenos burgueses' (The petty burgeois) is back after having been banned by the Military Junta that took over Brazil's government in April 1964.

24 July 1966 - Argentine director Carlos Hugo Christensen's ode to Rio de Janeiro, the city he chose to live in. OESP's columnist debunks the movie, but coming from such a quarters it is highly suspected of parochialism... especially when the movie's main theme is the City of Rio de Janeiro itself which the daily newspaper from S.Paulo harboured a vindictive and unfounded hate. 

28 August 1966 - Irma Alvarez is 'Engraçadinha depois dos 30', based on a Nelson Rodrigues story; at Cine Ipiranga 'As cariocas' with a lot of hot stars.

28 August 1966 - 'O vigilante rodoviário', the very first Brazilian TV series becomes a full-lenght movie titled 'O vigilante e os 5 valentes' with Carlos Miranda playing the hero and rock singer Tony Campello playing a play-boy gone wrong plus Lobo, the so-called Brazilian Rin-Tin-Tin.
Tony Campello plays a play-boy involved with some shady characters. 

read more about it:

1 9 6 5 - 'Esse mundo é meu' / São Paulo S.A.

7 February 1965 - OESP cinema columnist writes a highly biased review about singer-song-writer-movie-director Sergio Ricardo's 'Esse mundo é meu' (This world is mine). Conservative newspaper would not tolerate any 'leftism'... Dark days had dawned on 1st April 1964, the day Democracy was smashed in the country. Things would only become worse in the next few years. The film was released in August 1964 but apparently only got to be shown in Sao Paulo in February 1965. 

Ziraldo and Antonio Pitanga in 'Esse mundo é meu'. 
Antonio Pitanga & Lea Bulcão 

21 March 1965 - Geraldo Vietri's 'O homem das encrencas' (Imitando o sol) with Laura Cardoso, Abilio Marques, Pagano Sobrinho, Lucia Lambertini, Sergio Hingst e Jean Carlo. 

9 May 1965 - Milton Amaral's 'O cabeleira' starring Helio Souto, Marlene França & evil Milton Ribeiro of 'O cangaceiro''s fame. Ruth de Souza and singer-turned-actor Francisco Egydio complete the cast.
23 May 1965 - Alex Viany's 'Sol sobre a lama' starring Geraldo Del Rey who as the ad says TV Excelsior's popular Marcelo, the main character in the soap-opera 'Vidas cruzadas'. Del Rey played the pimp in Anselmo Duarte's 'O pagador de promessas' in 1962. Tereza Raquel and Glauce Rocha who died young complete the scene. Music by Pixinguinha and Vinicius de Morais. 
6 June 1965 - new director Glauro Couto's 'Os vencidos' (The conquered) with Black actors Breno Mello ('Black Orpheus') and Eliezer Gomes ('Assalto ao trem pagador') plus French starlet Annik Malvil.

6 June 1965 - Angolan director Ruy Guerra's 'Os fuzis'
29 August 1965 - a German-Brazilian co-production, Horst Haechler's 'Convite ao pecado' (Invitation to sin) featured wife-and-husband Eva Wilma & John Herbert in the main roles.
29 August 1965 - a  Brazilian-Argentine 1964 co-production 'Morte para um covarde' (Un sueño y nada más) with Reginaldo Farias and Virginia Lago.
29 August 1965 - at Cine Metro 'Grito da terra' directed by Ciro de Carvalho Leite, starred by Helena Ignez.

11 September 1965 -

19 September 1965
26 September 1965 - screen-play by Edgard da Rocha Miranda is based on an infamous crime committed by a jilted woman who befriended her former lover's young daughter, abducted her, shot her in the head and set fire to the body. It all happened on 30 June 1960. The killer Neide Maia Lopes became known in the press as 'Fera da Penha' (the beast from Penha). Polish-born Beyla Genauer plays the beastly nurse, Carlos Alberto plays the two-timing bastard and Joana Fomm the wife that stays at home and doesn't know anything about nothing. 

3 Brazilian movies were released on the week of 26 September 1965. Eventually, the Brazilian cinema industry would hit hard times and fade out completely.  

26 September 1965

26 September 1965 -

3 October 1965
Walmor Chagas walks the streets of São Paulo...
walking up Avenida São João...
bewildered by the naked city... 
Eva Wilma & Walmor Chagas in São Paulo Sociedade Anônima. 
13 November 1965 - at Cine Republica a typical Paulista movie: Geraldo Vietri's 'Quatro brasileiros em Paris' having the whole cast of TV Tupi's telenovelas like Amilton Fernandes & Guy Lupe who were the romantic pair in 'O direito de nascer', Sergio Galvão who was a Radio Bandeirantes DJ who played rock music; heart throb Jean Carlo, 'bad girl' Georgia Gomide who made a point of playing 'evil women' and Laura Cardoso who would have one of the longest career in Brazilian show business ever.

21 November 1965 - actor turned director Jece Valadão presents 'Historia de um crápula' with himself, Jose Lewgoy, Mario Lago and others.  

28 November 1965 - At Cine Marrocos, Carlos Hugo Christensen's 'Viagem aos seios de Duilia' with Rodolfo Mayer and Nathalia Timberg; at Cine Metropole, 'A falecida', based on a Nelson Rodrigues's story with Fernanda Montenegro; at Cine Maraba, 'A desforra', made in S.Paulo with some telenovela's actors like Tarciso Meira, Jacqueline Myrna, Guy Loupe who later would change her name to Isabel Cristina, Mara di Carlo and Canarinho.  

Jacqueline Myrna & Tarciso Meira 

Jacqueline Myrna 

28 November 1965 - country music duo Tonico & Tinoco's vehicle 'Obrigado a matar' based on 'Chico Mineiro' (Tonico-Francisco Ribeiro) a popular country song recorded by them in 1958.  Flick directed by Eduardo Llorente with incidental music written by Gabriel Migliori. 

12 December 1965 - based on José Guimarães Rosa's classic book 'Grande sertão - Veredas' - 'Grande sertão' was not welcomed by OESP columnist. He actually disparages the very history of Brazilian cinema and its various phases. From 1934 to 1960... 

12 December 1965 - almost 3 years after directing 'O pagador de promessas' (based on a play by Dias GomesAnselmo Duarte comes up with 'Vereda da salvação' this time based on a play by Jorge Andrade