Arquivo do mês: julho 2012


Manhã cinzenta (Gray Morning, 1969), de Olney São Paulo.


In a general view, all the processes of the censorship of the movies in Brazil from 1908 to 1988 can be understand as a phase in a long five centuries process of a pretense control of the minds and behaviors of the growing population by the different States created to maintain the status quo, the properties in the hands of their owners and the privileges concentrated on the top of the social pyramid. This process began in Europe, with the censure of the books by the Portuguese Inquisition (1536-1821).

The Inquisitorial methods, legislations and procedures were applied in the Brazilian Colony (1530-1818) first against the books and the theater. This methods, legislations and procedures were inherited, in renewed contexts, by the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarve (1818-1889) against the books, the theater, and the press; by the Old Republic (1889-1930), the Interim Government of Getulio Vargas (1930-1934), the Second Republic (1934-1937), the Third Republic (New State, 1937-1945) and the Fourth Republic (1946-1963) against the books, the theater, the press and the cinema; and by the Fifth Republic (Military Dictatorship, 1964-1985) against the books, the theater, the press, the cinema and the TV. The Republic of the Constituent Assembly (1985-1988) brought a temporary abolition of the Censure.

In the silent era, the Brazilian movies were made by independent producers with the money of farmers, entrepreneurs and businessmen. The first studio, the Cinédia, was created in 1930, in Rio de Janeiro, by the journalist Adhemar Gonzaga (1901-1978). A big fan of the American movies, he tried to establish something like a movie industry in the country, but his films – even the most popular, O Ébrio (The Drunkard, 1946), by Gilda de Abreu – never had more than 5,000 spectators. After the success of the shorts made by Pathé and other European companies, the American movies became the most popular and beloved by the Brazilian moviegoers. Without a national market where to sell their films, the Brazilian movie makers needed the support of the State to survive.

In the beginning, all the movies were censored in each city by priests and policemen without any kind of formality: each State had a different and improvised censure. These local censures were officialized for the first time in 1921. Later a federal Censure, much stronger, was born under the nationalist dictatorship of President Getúlio Vargas during the New State (1937-1945). Vargas gave an especial attention to the cinema, in order to use the medium to “educate” the population in a fascist way. Inspired by Mussolini and Hitler, he created the INCE – Instituto Nacional do Cinema Educativo (National Institute of Educational Cinema) and the DIP – Departamento de Informação e Propaganda (Information and Propaganda Office).

During the Second War a new film studio, the Atlântida Cinematográfica (1941-1962), was founded in Rio de Janeiro. Atlântida produced the so called “chanchadas” (a mix of popular comedy with musical shows), which were very successful. The company made 66 films in 21 years. Some of its comedies were smash hits and the greatest one was O homem do Sputnik (The Sputnik Man, 1959), by Carlos Manga, which had 15 million spectators, when the Brazilian population was 60 million[1].

Another relevant attempt to create a Brazilian movie industry was the foundation of the film studio Vera Cruz (1949-), in São Paulo, from Franco Zampari. Directed in its first years by the great Brazilian filmmaker Alberto Cavalcanti, the Vera Cruz produced 40 films, including the international hit O cangaceiro (Cangaceiro, 1953), by Lima Barreto, with 20 million spectators around the world. The film won the International Prize in Cannes and was nominated to the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture.

Other filmmakers and entrepreneurs tried to establish little film industries, in general to realize their own movies. In a general way these companies[2] were bad administrated and didn’t last much time. The most successful was the Cinedistri (1949-1997, 104 films), from Oswaldo Massaini (until 1970) and Aníbal Massaíni Neto. The Cinedistri produced O pagador de promessas (Payer of Promises, 1962), by Anselmo Duarte, first and only one Brazilian movie to win the Golden Palm in Cannes.

In the sixties, the Cinema Novo, a movement majoritarian made by Marxists filmmakers, rejected the idea of create a film industry in Brazil, searching instead the support of the State to produce more films of the own group, after some independent productions without practically any public, due to its “godardesc” political metaphors, but most appreciated by Marxist critics in International Film Festivals. This support came from the nationalist Military dictatorship with the creation of the state company Embrafime and the adoption of protectionist legislation to the Brazilian movies. This was at the same time the period of the greater Censure, when few Brazilian or foreign films could be shown without cuts, when they were not entirely prohibited. Since then, the television, especially the Rede Globo, dominated the mass entertainment with soap operas, newsreels, shows, carnivals and soccer games, also under strong Censure.

Emergence of film censorship during the Old Republic

The censorship in the Brazilian cinema seems to have been started in 1908, with the first exhibitions in an improvised room by a young Spanish entrepreneur Francisco Serrador[3] in a warehouse owned by Salesian priests, in the commercial center of São Paulo. By examining the films to be exhibited, a priest protested that one of them would be inappropriate, requesting its withdrawal from the program. Serrador then suggested the removal of the disturbing scene, a practice that has since become common.

In 1909, in Rio de Janeiro, Os estranguladores (The Stranglers, 1908), by Francisco Marzullo and Antônio Leal, inspired by a famous crime that had occurred two years before, was prohibited by the Police. The producers had to recourse to Justice, and the film was released, making it one of the first successes of Brazilian cinema[4]. The Police also prohibited, some years later, copies, posters, and advertisements of the film A vida de João Cândido (The Life of João Cândido, 1912), a “cinebiography” of the Almirante Negro (Admiral Black), the Black leader of the “Revolta da Chibata” (“Rebellion of the Switch”) from 1910[5] – the Brazilian “Potemkin”[6].

In 1919, two American movies with “love scenes” interpreted by children caused scandal, leading to the creation of a Federal Censorship in Rio de January (at that time still the capital of the country). A year later, in São Paulo, O crime de Cravinhos (The crime of Cravinhos, 1920, by Arturo Carrari and Gilberto Rossi) was apprehended by the Police. The drama was based on a real crime involving a traditional family of the country. After a process moved by the producers for “ownership’s reintegration”, they won the case and the film could be shown with an extra-propaganda: “Come and see! Sensational! The film the Police prohibited finally liberated!”[7]

Until 1920 the censorship of the movies was made in an erratic way by local authorities (colonels, priests, policemen) in a not yet urbanized country (the urbanization has increased intensively in the thirties and forties) with a territory of 8,514,876,599 km² – the fifth greatest of the world, and where the central power control is even today very difficult to be exercised. In 1920, the Brazilian population was 27,500,000 and had only 74 cities bigger than 20 mil inhabitants, with 17% of the entire population, concentrated in three States: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais[8].

However, with the increase of the urbanization, the movies gained more and more popularity. Since then, always under the influence of the Catholic Church, the Brazilian authorities began to think in the institutionalization of the Censure of the cinema (besides the long traditional censure of the press and the theatre) in one organism created with this specific objective, employing specialized servicers.

Therefore, a new instance was required to try to control the new public entertainment: in 1921 the government of São Paulo, the most developed and industrial State, created the Serviço de Censura Cinematográfica (Cinematographic Censure Service). This was a new model of censorship soon requested for all the country, and supported by the Federal Law n. 2.034, from 1924. The movie maker Antônio Campos accepted to become the first Chief of the Cinematographic Censure Service. Campos was abhorrent by his colleagues, like the talented José Medina, who suffered the prohibition of Perversidade (Wickedness, 1922) and the abolition “without justifications”[9] of scenes of Gigi (Gigi, 1925). But Campos stayed in charge as censor until his retirement in 1946[10].

At first glance it could appear that the favorite targets of the new Cinematographic Censure Service would be films with appealing titles such as Vício e beleza (Addiction and Beauty, 1926), by Antônio Tibiriçá; Depravação (Depravity, 1926), by Luís de Barros; A Morfina (The Morphine, 1928), by Francisco Madrigano; Veneno branco (White Poison, 1929), by Luis Seel; or Messalina, ou a imperatriz da luxúria (Messalina, or the empress of luxury, 1930), by Luís de Barros and Del Picchia. But these films had found a formula that protected them from the prohibition that reached their imported counterparts,[11] by imitating them with temperance.

While the foreign films of the genre were prohibited, the Brazilians escaped the censorship and made success promising without fulfilling the sensations suggested by their titles. Appreciated by the public, the films were depreciated by the critics. The Morphine, for example, presented itself as “the greatest movie of the Brazilian cinematography”, bringing “plastic poses”, “artistic nude” and showing “neatly the horrors of the elegant vices.”[12] But the first Brazilian film magazine, O Fan (The Fan), the official organ of the Chaplin Club, the first film club in Brazil, in its first number (they publish only nine), sentenced that “Morphine is morphine to the national cinema”. It is difficult to reconstruct this period of the movie history in Brazil: the production of Brazilian silent films was scarce – in medium, only four to six features a year, and more than 80% of them – including all the above mentioned titles – disappeared for ever.

Film censorship in the Vargas era (1930-1945)

In 1930, the failed candidate to Presidency, Getúlio Vargas, took the power with the agreement of the Army. The new illegal regime promised remain in power only a little to implement democratic reforms, but Vargas closed the National Congress instead and remained 15 years in power. In 1932 the censorship of the entertainments was assumed by the Departamento Oficial de Propaganda (Official Department of Propaganda, DOP), created by Vargas. In the same year, by Decree n° 21.240, no film could be shown on national territory without a certificate from the Ministério da Educação e Saúde Pública (Ministry of Education and Public Health).[13]

In 1934, by the Decree n° 24.651 the DOP was replaced by the Departamento de Propaganda e Difusão Cultural (Department of Propaganda and Cultural Diffusion, DPDC). With the so-called New State (Estado Novo, 1937-1945), ruled by the President Getúlio Vargas, a dictator in the fascist way, the DPDC was renamed as Departamento Nacional de Propaganda (National Department of Propaganda, DNP) and the censorship increased.

In 1938, in order to amplify the activities of the DNP, Vargas created the Departamento de Imprensa e Propaganda (Press and Propaganda Department, DIP), after the model of the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, RMVP) by Joseph Goebbels. The DIP was latter abolished and replaced the DNP, former DPDC. The Director of the DPDC, after the DNP, after the DIP, was always the same, journalist and politician Lourival Fontes, a kind of Propaganda Minister or “the Goebbels” of Vargas regime from 1934 to 1942.

The DIP assumed all former propaganda services of the federal administration and organized the personality cult of Vargas. One of the functions of the DIP was the Censure of the theater, cinema, radio and press. Other function was the promotion of the production of educative movies, with prizes and privileges. The mission of the Division of Theater and Cinema was to censure or authorize all the movies in national territory, to publish in the Diário Oficial (Oficial Daily News) lists of plays and films censored, with its characteristics and resumes of judgments; to incentive and promote economic facilities to national movie companies and distributors and to produce permanently a cine-journal filmed in all the country with “authentic Brazilian motives”.[14]

In 1939, the Decree nº 1.949 forced the movie theaters to exhibit at least one Brazilian film a year, and the Decree-Law nº 1.915 made the DIP responsible for the control of the entire cultural production. In January 1940, the DPI received the order to “cease the projection of movies that were favorable to the liberal democracy,” which implied the prohibition of The Great Dictator (1940), by Charles Chaplin. It was necessary that the US State Department negotiated the liberation of the film, which could only be seen in Brazil with the suspension of the Portuguese subtitles when the characters of the film mention “dictator” or “dictatorship” in their speeches.

By declaring neutrality, Vargas could maintain trade relations with Germany, breaking the British blockade in the Atlantic Ocean, and with the United States, providing the rubber that was needed by the American war industry. In 1942, within the Policy of Good Neighborliness of President Theodore Roosevelt, when many Hollywood directors, technicians and film stars came to Brazil (like John Ford, Walt Disney, Greg Tolland, Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, etc.). Orson Welles came to shoot the Brazilian episode “The Story of Samba” from the film in three episodes Pan-America, after named It’s All True (1942).

Before arriving in Brazil at February, 8 1942, Welles read the article “Four Men on a Raft” (Time Magazine, December, 8, 1941) about the odyssey of Manuel ‘Jacaré’ Olímpio Meira, Raimundo ‘Tatá’ Correia Lima, Manuel ‘Preto’ Pereira da Silva and ‘Mestre’ Jerônimo André de Souza that navigated in a jangada 2.381km from Fortaleza to Rio de Janeiro, for 61 days without any chart or instruments, to claim the right to retirement for Brazilian fishermen, who lived in extreme poverty when, becoming older, could not more go fish.

Astonished, Welles decided to change the plot of his previous episode about the origins of the samba, without the permission of the Studio, telling instead the story of the four jangaderos. Vargas, who received with honors the fishermen in his palace of Catete (Rio) and promised a better future to the fishermen, protested to the American government against the intruder Welles: the filming of black fishermen crossing the Atlantic in a raft to make claims “would do nothing to disseminate a good image of Brazil abroad.”[15] The RKO so drew back its team and Welles had to finish the film in an independent manner.

In August, 7, 1942, the Command of German U-boots ordered the German U-boots which were in South Atlantic to attack in “free maneuvers” any ship they found in the Brazilian coasts, except the ships from Argentine and Chile. The U-507 had already sunken nine ships when reached the Brazilian north-eastern coast. The Vargas government was still neutral, but already received from the USA forces to protect the sea from German and Italian U-boot incursions and attacks.

From August 15 to 19, the U-507, under the command of Captain Harro Schacht sunk five Brazilian ships and a boat causing the death of 607 peoples, including many women and children[16]. After this “Brazilian Pearl Harbor,”[17] and under the pressure of a strong mass movement from communists and liberals intellectuals, students and workers against the Nazis, Vargas finally declared war to the countries of the Axis, organized the Força Expedicionária Brasileira (Brazilian Expeditionary Force, FEB) and embarked on 25,000 pracinhas (Brazilian soldiers) to fight in Italy.

In 1945, Vargas was deposed by the victorious in Italy Brazilian Army, which imposed as the presidential successor the lawyer José Linhares, from Ceará, who stayed only three months in power, from October 30, 1945 to January 31, 1946, to operate the transition from the dictatorship to a democracy. He promoted the freest elections until then; but he put a lot of familiars in the State, and this nepotism cracked his image. He became a target from popular jokes like “Os Linhares são milhares!” (The Linhares are milliards!”) [18].

The brief Linhares Administration transformed the DIP, which had prohibit eighteen films since 1942, in Departamento Federal de Segurança Pública (Federal Department of Public Security, DFSP), within the Ministério da Justiça e Negócios Interiores (Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs), and created by Decree-Law nº 8.462 the Serviço de Censura de Diversões Públicas (Service of Censorship of Public Amusement, SCDP).

A new Departamento Federal de Segurança Pública (Federal Department of Public Security, DFSP) started to operate in association to the Ministério da Justiça e Negócios Interiores (Ministry of Justice and Interiors Affairs). In 1945 was created the Serviço de Censura de Diversões Públicas (Service of Censure of the Public Entertainments, SCDP), in association with the DFSP.

Film censorship during the Fourth Republic (1946-1963)

In the supposedly democratic government of the general Eurico Gaspar Dutra (1946-1951), the Decree-Law n° 20.493, from 1946, established a previous censorship for the movies that could no longer be shown without a certificate approved by the SCDP, valid for five years. It was the duty of the censors to classify the films by age; to cut off the scenes after describing them in an appropriated form; to inform if the film was educational and, in the case of the Brazilian movies, give them a certificate of “good quality” and “free for export” and denying those certificates to movies that presented “ugly views from Brazil,” that had been “badly photographed,” did “not recommend national art abroad” or which contained “views of areas that were of interests of the defense and the national security.”

Up until 1953, thirteen films were prohibited and none between 1954 and 1960, under the most democratic Brazilian President, Juscelino Kubitschek (1956-1961), who changed the country moving the federal capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia, a city he constructed in four years (today with 2,562,963 inhabitants, the fourth most populated of the country), with plans made by the socialist urbanist Lúcio Costa and buildings designed by the modernist and Stalinist architect Oscar Niemeyer.[19] They tried to create a utopic city without social classes. For this the city became famous as the “capital of hope” (an epithet coined by the French author André Malraux). These grandiose ideals were soon contradicted by the reality. Brasilia soon became a synonym of bureaucracy, censure, repression, and corruption…

In 1961, under the turbulent Presidency of Jânio Quadros (1961-1963), a contradictory conservative that invited Che Guevara to receive a medal from Brazilian government and sent the Vice-president João Goulart to China to enforce the cooperation with the communist State (in 1963 he renounced the Presidency saying been under the pressure of “occult forces”), the Decree n° 50.518 gave to the States of the Federation the right to exercise a local censorship. But the central SCDP had not disappeared, so there were conflicts between the two instances.

Until 1964, the censorship rarely banned films: Os cafajestes (The Boors, 1962), by Ruy Guerra, with the first frontal female nude in Brazilian cinema, target of campaigns for its prohibition by conservative sectors of society, was released without cuts for audiences over eighteen years.

Film censorship during Military Dictatorship (1964-1985)

After the coup d’état from 1964, the Military Dictatorship (1964-1985) substituted the regional SCDPs for the Censura Federal (Federal Censorship, CF), integrated to the Polícia Federal (Federal Police, PF). In order to show their films, the producers needed the certificate from the CF, which also censored posters and trailers. All the films were expurgated of dialogues with bad language, nudity and representations of sex. Under the government of the general-president Castelo Branco (1964-1967), the censorship was still exerted by public officials.

The moral issues were more target than the political ones. The libels Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (Black God White Devil, 1964), by Glauber Rocha; and Os fuzis (The Rifles, 1964), by Guerra, were liberated, the last one with some praise from the censor: “Good laboratory work, great lighting and good sonority. It’s not yet a masterpiece of the national cinema.” However, “the aggressivity of some scenes and some stronger dialogues justify the impropriety” [20] [to minors of 18 years and exhibition on TV]. The film was free to be exported and could conquer the Silver Bear in the Berlin International Film Festival.

In 1967, under the government of marshal-president Artur da Costa e Silva (1967-1969), the censorship began to be made by military officials and the practice of vetting entire films become current. El Justicero (1967), by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and Terra em transe (Entranced Earth, 1967), by Rocha, were, for example, banned under the accusation of “subversive propaganda”[21]. To give the military censorship a democratic character, the vetoes usually turned to the Law of 1946.

In 1968, the Law 5.536 created the Conselho Superior do Cinema (Superior Council of Cinema, CSC) and gave the SCDP the power to censure all the cultural production[22]. To contain the radical opposition, armed in guerillas, the Ato Inconstitucional n° 5 (Unconstitutional Act n° 5, AI-5) was decreed.[23] The dictatorship wanted to be seen as the “true democracy” and any protest was considered an “attack against the National Security.” The censure assumed the defense of the country threatened by “subversives” and the protection of the families from the “moral corruption,” according to the Security National Doctrine. In the absence of an “external enemy,” the Army applied the methods of the anticommunism of the Cold War against an “internal enemy.” The project Brasil nunca mais (Brazil Never More) from the Arquidiocese de São Paulo(Archdiocese of Sao Paulo) elaborated a partial inventory of the dead and tortured based on the procedures of the Military Justice from 1964 to 1979: only in this period, 1.843 persons were tortured, 144 killed and 125 “disappeared” (drowned with the belly opened with a knife and stones in their bodies, heads cut off, in case the corpses came up to the surface, so they could not be recognized).[24]

Actresses against censure, 1968: Eva Todor, Tônia Carrero, Eva Wilma, Leila Diniz, Odete Lara, Norma Bengell.

Actresses against censure, 1968: Eva Todor, Tônia Carrero, Eva Wilma, Leila Diniz, Odete Lara, Norma Bengell.

The resistance of the cineclubs

The classic Bronenosets Potyomkin (Battleship Potemkin, 1925), by Sergei Eisenstein, had been exhibited up until 1964, when it was announced in an event for marine against the Dictatorship, with the presence of João Cândido, the old black leader of the Rebellion of the Switch (see note 6). For Minister Silvio Mota, the “double provocation” was unbearable. The exhibition was not allowed and the prohibition was maintained by the successive military governments. In 1974, the veto was formalized even for cinematheques and cineclubs.[25]

During this period, many students engaged in the now underground Partido Comunista Brasileiro (Brazilian Communist Party, PCB) entered the cineclubist movement as a way to continue the fight against the repressive regime. With the orientation of the PCB, the cineclubist movement grew up to the point of assemble 200 cineclubs affiliated to the Conselho Nacional de Cineclubes (National Council of Cineclubs) that created its own distributor, the Distribuidora Nacional de Filmes para Cineclubes (National Distributor of Films to Cineclubs, Dinafilme).[26] Displaying as far as possible the banned films, the cineclubists played an important role of resistance to the censure. The preferred title on their “surprise” sessions was Battleship Potemkin, which became the symbol of the cineclubist resistance.

In 1977, critic Leon Cakoff, organizer of the Mostra Internacional de Cinema (International Exhibition of Cinema), in São Paulo, received the film 25 (25, 1977), by Celso Lucas and José Celso Martinez Corrêa (both in exile), through a diplomatic bag of France. A member of the censure asked for a private session of the film (under the independence of Mozambique), but Cakoff alleged the immunity of the diplomatic bag, creating an incident that the police preferred not to carry on: so 25 could be shown in the Mostra. In 1981, Cakoff managed to exhibit the banned Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, 1975), by Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Caligola (1979), by Tinto Brass, in two special sessions by means of warrants of security, resource that he used with success in other occasions. The method worked until 1984, when the warrants were suspended. In 1985, as the stalemate continued, Cakoff parliamented with the Minister of Justice, Fernando Lyra, who then allowed the film festivals to show films without prior censorship.[27]

The anarchy of the censorial power

The censure was, under the Military Dictatorship, methodical and arbitrary. The opinions of the different censors were similar, giving the impression of consistency: they could combine the concept that they would put in the forms, so an opinion could enhance the other, legitimizing a supposed objectivity of trials. But when the same film was seen and analyzed by censors at different times and places, the opinions differed and came into conflict, producing misunderstandings and unexpected twists and turns.

The anarchy of the censorial power, its lack of parameters, appears clearly with the decisive force in the form of hierarchy – overlapping the views on the dangerousness of each film. The chaos under the ordered appearance of the political system coincide with the uniqueness of the censors perceptions as human beings, since the “objective” reasons to cut scenes and prohibit this film and not another were finally based in the sensibilities of the censors, formed by the historic of each personality, despite the same political guidelines all them supposedly received.

Trying to diminish the divergences of opinions, in 1971 the book Censura Federal (Federal Censorship) containing the principals censure laws of the country, compiled by Carlos Rodrigues, with a preface by the President of the INC, Ricardo Cravo Albin, became the “Bible of the censors”, easy to be consulted by the Censure technicians[28]. In 1973, the SCDP became the Divisão de Censura e Diversões Públicas (Division of Censorship and Public Amusements, DCDP). Before the projections appeared in all of the screens the Certificate of Censorship, signed by the successive directors of the DCDP, which became almost as famous as the stars of the films. The cuts proposed by censors could be considered irrelevant by the director of the DCDP, which gave the last word in the division. But the films released by the director of the DCDP could be vetoed by the director of the PF, who ended the discussions in the institution. And the prohibitions required by the PF’s directors could be ignored by the CSC, who took the final decision in the system as a whole. The chiefs used to give their opinions before the end of the processes. But there were cases in which the director of the PF only gave his opinion about a film when it was already in exhibition, so it needed to be arrested for the seizure.

This was the case of The Rifles, which had been released without cuts in 1965 with some praise of the censor. In 1977, a copy of the movie, with its title in German (Die Gewehre), was found in the air luggage of the passenger Claud Wrobel, resident of Geneva; a censor examined it and considered the film subversive, reproaching the censor who had released it in 1965.[29] In July 1977, Guerra requested his copy with urgency. The head of the SCDP deliberated in August that the film could be restored to the person concerned. But until February 1978 the filmmaker had not received his film. He sent new request. The head of the DCDP replied on March 1978 that the copy was sent to the CF in Rio, and there was no impediment to the delivery of the material.[30]

Thus, by comings and goings of the cans of films in the bureaucracy, films were lost, diverted, and sometimes disappeared; requests were placed “in the refrigerator”, postponed ad aeternum, and forgotten. La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers, 1966), by Gillo Pontecorvo, disappeared for three years between a loan and another to military schools – it was the most borrowed film among other “subversive films” such as Z (Z, 1969), of Costa-Gavras, or Sacco e Vanzetti (Sacco and Vanzetti, 1971), by Giuliano Montaldo, as part of an “antiguerrilla training”…

Without clarified motives, some controversial movies were released, seized, and then liberated with cuts or not. It seems that some authorities had not seen the films before the release, and when they saw them, had new perceptions of the “danger” of some scenes or of the entire film and ordered cuts and prohibitions. Some examples: The Battle of Algiers was released in 1966, seized and banned in 1968, released and banned in 1975. Le souffle au coeur (Murmur of the Heart, 1971), by Louis Malle, was released, seized and released in 1980. Ultimo tango a Parigi (Last tango in Paris, 1972), by Bernardo Bertolucci, was banned and released with cuts in 1980. Sacco and Vanzetti, was released and seized in 1973, then released without cuts in 1979. Toda nudez será castigada (All Nudity Shall Be Punished, 1973), by Jabor, was released without cuts, seized, and released with twelve cuts.

The anarchy of the censorial power was even better illustrated by the case of Macunaíma (Jungle Freaks, 1969), by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, who should suffer fifteen cuts. Andrade went see the censor. To justify his cuts, the censor embraced his adolescent niece who was with him saying that she, who was very intelligent, gave the movie a zero. Having nothing to say, Joaquim Pedro left with the censor a paste of French criticism laudatory to the movie. The censor replied that his wife was studying French and would examine the portfolio. On the following day, he brought the good news: his wife was enchanted by the criticism and for that reason he would give the filmmaker the option to choose only three scenes to cut: the film was released with the three chosen cuts by Andrade, stunned with the surrealism of the situation.[31]

Nationalism: resistance or collaboration

During all the Dictatorship period,Brazilian filmmakers identified with the “subversion” had their films mutilated or banned at the same time they gained a certificate of “Good Quality” and “Free to Export,” which allow their films to explore an eventually international career. The no concession of those certificates could make impracticable the participations in festivals and in international sales. The censors rarely denied these certificates, stimulating the moviemakers to show their films even when they were banned in Brazil. Beside the strategy to display abroad an image of the military regime as a liberal democracy, the practice proved that the military saw the movies as pamphlet and as goods: despite the negative messages, neutralized inside the country by cuts and vetoes, the censure liberated products of supposedly “good quality” (technically speaking) for export, experiencing certain nationalistic proud.

In 1969, in the government of general-president Emilio Garrastazu Medici (1969-1974), considered one of the greatest nationalist propaganda, based in a “economic miracle”, and also of the greatest persecution of opponents and Censure, merged, in the bulge of the creation of the “Embras” (state enterprises),[32] the Empresa Brasileira de Filmes Sociedade Anônima (Brazilian Company of Films Limited, Embrafilme), linked to the Ministério da Educação e Cultura (Ministry of Education and Culture, MEC), to promote the Brazilian cinema.

The apparent contradiction of the promotion under repression impressed in the production of the period an original brand. As in the famous songs of double meaning by Chico Buarque, filmmakers started to produce “tropicalists” metaphorical films, as Azyllo muito louco (Very Crazy Asylum, 1971); Os herdeiros (The Heirs, 1969); Pindorama (Pindorama, 1970); Quando o carnaval chegar (When the Carnival will come, 1972); Como era gostoso o meu francês (How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman, 1972) – praising the freedom against the “foreign” oppression, with support of the Embrafilme and cuts and vetoes from the Federal Censorship.

The filmmakers – who also assumed positions of leadership in the Embrafilme – became collaborators of the State that repressed them. The paradox of a right-wing dictatorship that castrated and promoted leftists filmmakers had an “explanation” in the nationalism. The military valued the Brazilian cinema as export product in the goal of the development of the country, once the subversive films used to return as winners from European festivals. Powered by personal interests justified by ‘Third World’ ideology, the filmmakers saw themselves as resistants against ‘American imperialism’. So the nationalism gained ground.[33] In 1969, the Decree-Law nº 483 made compulsory the insertion of educational shorts at the beginning of each session of cinema. The dictatorship also encouraged the production of historical movies and adaptations of classics of the national literature. If a producer followed these guidelines his film could obtained a financing more generous of Embrafilme. One of these products, Independência ou morte (Independence or Death, 1972), was highly praised by the censor who released it.[34]

Since 1975, the Embrafilme started to coordinate the activities of the film sector in its entirety. In 1977, the movie theaters were obliged to show Brazilian films 112 days a year.[35] The protectionism did not mean the consolidation of a national industry of cinema, only the artificial success of a group of filmmakers who took benefits from the collaboration with the regime. Leonor De Souza Pinto sees the “fight of the filmmakers” to negotiate with the enemy as “resistance, never subservience or co-optation.” But many filmmakers remained marginal to the system, and were not favored by Embrafilme, that was unwilling or unable to assimilate the so called Cinema Marginal (Underground Movies): films such as O bandido da luz vermelha (The Red Light Bandit, 1969) by Rogério Sganzerla, or Matou a família e foi ao cinema (Killed the Family and Went to the Movies, 1970) by Júlio Bressane, which reflected his time with debauched, degrading, amoral, violent images.

Underground movies, with suggestions of political and sexual subversion of the patriarchal order, were the most persecuted. Filmmakers with external links or that could cope with the costs of travel have opted for voluntary exile when they felt the pressure rise, escaping from possible processes, prisons and torture. Others had not the same chance. The paulista (born in city of São Paulo) filmmaker João Silvério Trevisan signed only two films, considered by censorship “subversive and immoral in its entirety, and in each of its parts:” the short Contestação (Contestation, 1968) and Orgia, ou o homem que deu cria (Orgy, or the man who gave birth, 1969). With the banning of his films Trevisan was led to financial ruin. Since then, he started writing short stories and novels, becoming an important Brazilian writer.

The baiano (born in Bahia) filmmaker Olney São Paulo filmed at the center of Rio de Janeiro a manifestation that left a balance of 1,000 prisoners (including the actor of the film, Sonelio Coast), 57 injured and three dead. The scenes were included in the short Manhã cinzenta (Gray Morning, 1969). In October 1969, Olney gave a copy to one of the directors of the Federação Carioca de Cineclubes (Federation of Rio’s Cineclubs). The following morning the kidnapping of a Brazilian airplane, diverted to Cuba by members of the organization MR-8 was reported.

One of the hijackers was that cineclubist, who supposedly projected Gray Morning on board of the aircraft or in Cuba. Associated with the kidnapping, Olney had to submit to Justice. Three days later he disappeared. After Nine days, he returned ill, for a few hours, in the company of PF agents. He was imprisoned for over forty days. When he returned, he was hospitalized in a clinic. In March 1970, a process to determine the responsible for Gray Morning, forbidden by subversion, was open. The negative and copies of the film were confiscated.

In August, Olney returned to Rio for new interrogations. Finally, Olney was acquitted by three votes to two. But in November promoter Humberto Ramos asked his condemnation by the National Security Law. In January 1972, the Superior Military Court acquitted definitively the filmmaker, who died in 1978 devoured by cancer, at the age of 41, leaving four children. He was the only Brazilian director arrested, tortured and prosecuted just for making a movie.[36]

The paulista (born in São Paulo) writer and filmmaker José Agrippino de Paula, after making Hitler Terceiro Mundo (Hitler Third World, 1968), a gem of the Cinema Marginal (Underground Movie), was filming with Julian Beck and Judith Malina, from the Living Theatre, when they were arrested by supposedly having some drugs with them. They were only liberated after a campaign moved by international artists and intellectuals. The use of mescaline and the political persecution (in 1971 his house was invaded by policemen supposedly in search of drugs) have started a process of schizophrenia that left the writer and filmmaker inactive for decades, until his death.[37]

Jardim de Guerra (Garden of War, 1968), by Neville D Almeida, was banned as a “threat to National Security Law and the Criminal Code.” A mulher de todos (The Woman of All, 1969), by Sganzerla, suffered eleven cuts, including two quite exquisite: the censor demanded to leave only twelve frames of a scene; and twenty-four from another.[38] Família do barulho (1970), by Bressane, was banned by excess of “nonsense, stupidities and aggressions […] immorality, indecent language and bad words […] homosexuality and lesbianism and other idiocies of the same size.”[39]

A paradox: the censor men didn’t notice subversive messages in certain movies and considered others, without danger, subversive. So, the bold Estranho triângulo (Strange triangle, 1970), by Pedro Camargo, was released for over eighteen years with just a cut,[40] while Os primeiros momentos (The first moments, 1973), defined by Camargo as an “innocent comedy,” received indications for cuts that totaled fifteen minutes. Desperate, the talented director departed the cinema little by little.[41]

By censoring with force the dissident visions of sex in the Underground Movies of the Sixties, the censorship showed to be more tolerant to the films from the “Boca do Lixo” (“Mouth of the Garbage,” a prostitution area, near the Estação da Luz, in the old commercial center of São Paulo, that also concentrated the offices of producers, distributors and filmmakers) in the Seventies and Eighties.

The pornochanchadas (popular comedies of vulgar eroticism, where homosexuals were objects of mockery) laded the marks of their origins, with prostitutes working side by side with professional actors in difficulties. Between 1970 and 1975, nine of the twenty-five films of the greatest box office in Brazil were pornochanchadas. A viúva virgem (The Virgin Widow, 1972) reached an audience of more than 2,5 million people. Counting with the condoning of censorship, the pornochanchadas accounted for 70% of the production of Brazilian cinema in 1975.[42]

The cuts and prohibitions of the censorship, justified in the name of “moral and good manners,” followed the standards of the Christian majority of Brazilian society, under the tutelage of the Catholic and Evangelical Churches and their organizations. But this defense of morality was also a mask for political censorship. Observing a very small proportion of censorship opinions focusing on political issues, Souza Pinto attributed the phenomenon to the shame of censors to claim political reasons for their vetoes and to the self-censorship of the filmmakers, fearful of the vetoes of the censorship.

In fact, if there were few vetoes for political reasons this is less due to the self-censorship of the filmmakers and the shame of censors that to their malice in vetoing dissident imaginaries under the appearance of the moral veto, accepted and even demanded by the majority of the population.

The censure released vulgar pornography as an “adult entertainment” at the same time that infantilized adult population mutilating the artistically committed cinema. A Clockwork Orange (1971), by Kubrick, had the sexual organs in the sequence of the rapped women covered with “black little balls,” with the agreement of Kubrick that preferred even this to the total prohibition that always means a loss of much money. The censorship prevented the vision of the eroticism integrated in the dissidents’ visions, as an expression of human freedom, and encouraged the vulgar eroticism, uncritical, of a hypocritical, sexist, homophobic and dummy society. In this way, on one hand the censorship depoliticized theculture, on the other hand animalized it, forming a generation conformed to the reproduction of the patriarchal values of the regime.

The filmmakers less favored by the regime adhere to the pornochanchada to survive, but when they transported to the genre traces of social criticism, his intentions were soon detected: Ainda agarro essa vizinha (I yet grip this female neighbor, 1973), of Pedro Carlos Rovai, was banned, then released, with twenty-one cuts, and only released without cuts in 1979. Guerra conjugal (Conjugal Warfare, 1974), by Andrade, was banned by containing “indecent scenes with old, fat and ridiculous women, homosexual conquering openly and Oedipus complex.”[43] In the other hand, conformist soft pornswere released without major problems.[44]

Courses for censors

The martial Law of 1968, imposed in a context of serious troubles for the Military Regime with the growing of an armed opposition, with the insurgence of many guerrilla groups[45], introduced a novelty: the censorship to the cinema would be held by committees of three technicians of censorship of the PF (called Federal Censors before) with Upper Course in the areas of Social Sciences, Law, Philosophy, Journalism, Pedagogy and Psychology.

After being selected in a public contest, the censors passed by internal courses of further training, with classes on literature, interpretation of texts, history, theory and language of cinema. Films of subversive filmmakers (Godard, Truffaut, Pasolini, and Antonioni) were shown for the interpretation of political messages. Some censors had even studied Cinema at the University of Brasília (UnB).[46]

In the years of 1970, the DCDP received courses and advices by Waldemar de Souza, then director-responsible from April Publisher. In March 1972, his Course of Juxtaposed Messages in the Films (of subversive content) was attended by twenty-three students selected among the censors of higher level by general Nilo Caneppa da Silva and Rogério Nunes, director of DCDP. The classes were concentrated in the “techniques” of Godard, the “anarchist of the sensory human machine” and the “master of subversive and juxtaposed messages.”

Among the Brazilian filmmakers, the main target of Waldemar was Glauber Rocha, the favorite Godard’s disciple. In a conference at the Escola Nacional de Informações (National School of Informations) at June 1973, Waldemar noted that Cabezas cortadas (Cutting Heads, 1970) had “70% of juxtaposed (of subversive kind) messages.” Waldemar sent to the PF lists of filmmakers “specialized in subversive messages.”[47]

Perhaps the main lesson of Waldemar to the censors was his idea that there was no need to prohibit an art film: “To cut small sequences of images, dialog and sound track is enough to neutralize the subversive messages.” For fifteen years, trying to “defend the youth of certain illegal actions,” he gave freely to PF his “psychopedagogical advice.” The education of censors continued with the courses of Professional Training of Federal Censor, by Decius of Saints Vives, director of the Academia Nacional de Polícia (National Academy of Police) with a total of 776 hours, including varied studies, from “forms of discourse, functions of narrative and logic of the actions,” until “guns and shot training and physical dressage.”[48]

A system in breakdown: the Aperture’s period (1974-1985)

In the 1970s, Brazilian middle class began to travel to Argentina and Uruguay only to see the controversial foreign films that they could not see in Brazil, like Il conformist (The Conformist, 1970), Ultimo tango a Parigi (The Last Tango in Paris (1972), La grande bouffe (The Big Feast, 1973), Tommy (1975), Lisztomania (1975), Novecento (1900, 1976), Ai in korîda (In the Realm of the Senses, 1976).

Due to a many factors (decay of the economy with a higher oil price, growing of debts and inflation, popular dissatisfaction and the visit of Jimmy Carter in 1977 pressing the regime to respect the Human Rights) the general-president Ernesto Geisel (1974-1979) promised a “slow, gradual and secure” transition from dictatorship to democracy. This strange period was called “Abertura” (Aperture). Geisel suspended the prior censorship to news and television programming. The press started to inform about the processes in course at the CSC and, stripped in front of the public’s opinion, the censorship of films began to relax. From 1978, with the repeal of the AI-5, the producers started to appeal to the CSC to review the processes.

In 1980 the general-president João Figueiredo (1979-1984) gave continuity to the ‘Opening’ process and many banned films were then released. With a decade of delay, the Brazilians could see Women in Love (1969), Easy Rider (1969), Queimada (1969), Woodstock (1970), The Music Lovers (1970), Zabriskie Point (1970), R.P.M. (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), The Devils (1971), Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), Taking off (1971), La classe operaia va in paradiso (Lulu the Tool, 1971), Deliverance (1972), Mimì metallurgico ferito nell’onore (The Seduction of Mimi, 1972), État de siège (State of Siège,1972), etc. One of the few films not released was Salò, who only had commercial exhibition in Brazil in 1988.

Television could broadcast the program Abertura (Opening, TV Tupi, 1979), created by Fernando Barbosa Lima and presented by filmmaker Rocha, returned from exile. Realizing that the cinema was starting to lose importance, not having the same great public as television, which reached up to all homes, the censorship turned its attention to the new medium, vetoing or releasing films on television to certain hours, with a great profusion of cuts. Pixote: a lei do mais fraco (Pixote, 1980), by Hector Babenco, could only show on television in 1985 with 38 cuts and after 11.00 pm.

In 1980, the presence of the censor in the channels was replaced by phone calls that communicate what could or not to be broadcasted.[49] In 1982, an order from the Chief of the Censorship in Rio de Janeiro, Hélio Guerreiro, banned advertisements of male and female intime clothes, scenes of adultery, women in bikinis and “shocking reports.”[50] If a broadcaster did not follow the recommendations by phone it could risk of having their transmitters sealed by the Departamento Nacional de Telecomunicações (National Department of Telecommunications, Dentel) of the Ministério das Comunicações (Ministry of Communications), responsible for the supervision of the broadcasters.

In 1982, Prá Frente, Brasil (Go Ahead, Brazil, 1982), by Roberto Farias, the first commercial Brazilian film to show directly the practice of torture in the military regime, was impounded during the Festival de Gramado (Gramado Festival) and spent eight months “in the refrigerator.” Produced by the Embrafilme, the film caused the fall of his President, Celso Amorim, forced to resign for having approved a financial support to the film, which was only released in 1983.

In 1984, the military dictatorship was agonizing and in January 1985 the leader of the opposition Tancredo Neves was elected President of the Republic by Electoral College. Its mandate would begin in March. On the eve of his coming to power he was hospitalized, and died in April, José Sarney, former leader of the Arena, assumed the presidency the party of sustaining policy of the regime. The censure was concentrated in the control of television, but, under the first civil government in twenty-four years, the loss of authority was visible: the programs dared as never before.

In 1985, in the Teatro Casa Grande (Casa Grande Theater), in Rio de Janeiro, the Minister of Justice, Fernando Lyra, announced the release of everything that was prohibited, with the exception of the films and books which was sub judice. But under the pressure of the Catholic Church, the Sarney government still forbade Je Vous Salue Marie (Hail Mary, 1985), by Godard. At the end of 1985, the Federal Censorship had released The Last Tango in Paris for television, but in São Paulo the film could not be transmitted by an order of the Judge of Minors, in a local nostalgic censure of the rigors of Federal Censorship of the Dictatorship.

After the “end” of the Censure

In 1988 the new Constitution established the end of the censorship: radio and television stations could now show their programs regardless of issuance of classificatory certificates, so that they have full responsibility for displaying them. The DCF was replaced by the Departamento de Classificação Indicativa (Department for Grading Indicative, DCI). It was vetoed any censure of political, ideological and artistic nature. The end of the censorship brought the end of the cineclubs, which organizators were more interested in politics than in cinema; and the end of the pornochanchadas, which dropped by the list of the highest box-office while amounted committed films such as O beijo da Mulher Aranha (Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1985), by Babenco; and Marvada Carne (Strong Meat, 1985), by André Klotzel.

Deonísio da Silva pointed out that only in the Opening period of government Geisel were banned 500 books and “thousands of films, theater, music, posters, and jingles.”[51] Today (2011) we know that there are 94,100 censorship processes, thousands of them are of films, but they are not yet entirely classified and systematically studied.[52] Besides that, many documents are still lost or have been destroyed by the authorities themselves before the end of the dictatorship.

The journalist Inimá Simões was the first to examine the processes of censorship to the cinema, noting that the work of censors, although well organized, was subject to many variables: films also suffered random cuts by idiosyncrasies of officials and by the fear that they felt: if they did not cut something their Chiefs could see something, and reprehend them.[53]

In 2003, the collection of banned films from the old headquarters of the SDCD was transferred to the National Archives.[54] Between 2005 and 2007, the monumental project Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro (1964-1988) [Memory of Censorship in Brazilian Cinema (1964-1988)], by Souza Pinto, digitalized 14,000 documents on 444 Brazilian films[55]. For this researcher, “the intellectual limitations of the censors never prevented the censure to be one of the most competent organs of repression.”[56] She has identified 269 Brazilian movies totally prohibited or liberated with cuts – the majority for their eroticism. Her project, however, was limited to the Brazilian films, leaving aside the processes of the foreign films, banned in greater number.

As Simões had already noticed, the files related to foreign films also needs to be studied to fully understand the mechanisms of the censorship, whose major objective was to infantilize the population. The paternal state decided what the adult population, supposedly endowed with free will, might or might not see, hear, read and learn. By the arbitrary nature of its cuts, the censorship was an anarchic power: elaborated with cunning logic, its summaries were mere decorations for its scissors, which was trying, by mutilations and vetoes, to prevent the birth of a new libertarian culture, forcing it to adjust to the old patriarchal culture. This repressed culture was simultaneously moralist (mutilating artistic views of the erotic in subversive films) and pornographic (stimulating popular views of the erotic in conservative pornochanchadas).

After the end of the Censure only one movie remains “censored” in Brazil: the short Di Glauber (Di Glauber 1977), by Rocha, which documented the wake and funeral of the painter Di Cavalcanti. Since 1979 it can not be shown, at the request of his daughter Elizabeth through preliminary injunction granted by Justice, confirmed in 1983, for sentimental reasons tied with religious ideas. In 1985, the lawyer Felipe Falcon moved an action to reform the judgment, by proposing the dispossession of the film by the state on cultural grounds, to the detriment of the heirs of Di and Glauber. Yet with no solution in sight, Di Glauber must stay contained in a sealed box. In spite of everything, João Rocha, nephew of the filmmaker, has placed a copy on video on providers outside of Brazil: the internet users can make free downloads of the movie,[57] proving that censor the cinema in digital age is useless.


The New State and the Military Regime were the worst periods of the censorship of the movies, and the best ones for the movie production. This has to do with the role of the State in Brazilian Cinema: stronger the State, stronger the support to the movies. Due to many factors (colonization process, popularity of the American movies, poverty and bad education of the people, anti-commercial mentality of critics and movie makers[58]) there is until now no movie industry in Brazil, where the local production of mass entertainment is dominated by the Rede Globo of Television since the seventies. Only few movies[59] reach an infinitesimal parcel of the large audience of millions of the Brazilian TV fans[60]. The powerful Globo TV only in recent years produced some films, mostly in co-production.

Abolished by the liberal Constitution of 1988, the Censure has reborn in 1990, in the Ministério da Justiça (Ministry of Justice), under the Classificação Indicativa (Indicative Classification) form. The classificatory Censure began with the Portaria n° 773, and did not stop ramifying its branches and sophisticating its methods. The classificatory Censure increased in 2000 with the Portaria n° 796 and especially in 2004, with the Portaria nº 1.597[61].

Since then, formularies must be filed, rigorous demands are made, and possibilities of processes are mentioned. The audiovisual producers have to win a lot of bureaucracy in order to obtain the classification they need, and without it no audiovisual product can be shown in movie theaters and television or commercialized in any media. There are no prohibitions, but the State control remains. And the possibility of the return of the Censure under new forms remains too.

Refusing to classificate the ultrajous Srpski film (A Serbian Film, 2010), by Srdjan Spasojevic, after an action against pedophilia and child sexual abuse moved by the conservative Partido dos Democratas (Party of the Democrat, DEM),the classificatory Censure from the Ministry of Justice opened in 2011 a dangerous precedent: a concrete possibility of making the same with any other film, in any other situation. Naturally, after been unofficiallly “censored”, the film was widely dowlownded by the curious, mostly youngsters[62].

In the other hand, radical sectors within the government of leftist Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party, PT), in power since 2002, have put in march a strong campaign in official speeches, party congresses, academic seminars, engaged press, sites, blogs and social nets against “monopoles and oligopolies of communication”[63]. The leftists pray for “regulations” to obtain the “social control of the Medias” by “popular councils” acting in every place[64]. This totalitarian control made by militants from “social movements” organized by leftists Parties with support of the regime could lead to a new Censure, made against “the absence of plurality and diversity in contemporary media”, in the name of Human Rights, Citizenship and Freedom[65].

[1] Vaz, T. (2008). O rei do cinema. Rio Janeiro: Record, p.14.

[2] They were: Cine-Produções Fenelon (1948-1950, 6 films), from Moacyr Fenelon; Flama (1950-1957, 13 films), from Carlos and Rubens Berardo; Multifilme (1952-1955, 13 films), from Mario Civelli; Companhia Cinematográfica Maristela (1950-1958, 20 films), from Mário Audrá; Kino Filmes (1952-1954, 2 films), from Alberto Cavalcanti. See: Fernão Ramos; Luiz Felipe Miranda (orgs.). Enciclopédia do Cinema Brasileiro. São Paulo: Editora SENAC São Paulo, 2000, p. 103-105; Rafael de Luna Freire. Retrospectiva Cinematográfica Maristela. Rio de Janeiro: Tela Brasilis, 2011.

[3]  In the following decades, Serrador would become owner of the largest chain of cinemas in the country.

[4] Simões, I. (1999). Roteiro da intolerância: a censura cinematográfica no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Senac, p. 21.

[5] Idem, p. 22.

[6]The Rebellion started at November, 22, 1910. In this period, the Brazilian marines could be punished with strokes of whip. When the mariner Marcelino Rodrigues was punished with 250 strokes of whip for hurting a colleague in the ship Minas Gerais, the mariners mutinied, killed the commandant and three other officials. The mariners of the battleship São Paulo supported them. The leader João Cândido, who knew about the Potemkin Revolt in Russia, asked for the end of the physical punishments, for better alimentation and amnesty for all involved in the Revolt. Or they could, instead, bomb the city of Rio de Janeiro. The President Hermes da Fonseca accepted the ultimatum, but the promised amnesty was not accepted by the Navy. A new Revolt broke in December in Ilha das Cobras, strongly repressed by the government. Arrested in a terrible underground prison of the island, 16 from 18 prisoners died. Other 101 were sent with common criminals in the ship Satélite (Satellite) to a forced labor camp in Amazonia, but were target to death with their names marked with a red cross in a list gave to the commandant. They were murdered during the trip and thrown in the sea. Arrested in Ilha das Cobras, the leader João Cândido was one of the two survivors, but he’s gone mad and was internet in an asylum. He was liberated in 1912, and recovered the sanity, but died very poor as a seller of fishes. SeeMoura, C. (1992). História do Negro Brasileiro. São Paulo: Editora Ática.

[7] Simões, I. (1999), p. 23.

[8] Vilela, A; Suzigan, W. Política do Governo e crescimento da economia brasileira, 1889-1945, IPEA, Série Monografias, n. 10, 1973.

[9] Simões, I. (1999), pp. 24-25.

[10] Ramos, F.; Miranda, L. F. (2000). Enciclopédia do cinema brasileiro. São Paulo: Editora SENAC, pp. 78-79.

[11] Gomes, P. E. S (1966). 70 anos de cinema brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Expressão e Cultura, p. 60.

[12] Bernardet, J.-C. (1979). Filmografia do cinema brasileiro 1900-1935. São Paulo: Governo do Estado de São Paulo / Secretaria de Cultura / Comisssão de Cinema, 1979.

[13] Martins, W. S. N. (2008). As múltiplas formas de censura no cinema brasileiro: 1970-1980. Iberoamerica Global, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, v. 1, n. 1, fev, 2008, p. 30.

[14] motives

[15] Ferreira, S. C. de S. (2003). Cinema carioca nos anos 30 e 40. São Paulo: Annablume / Belo Horizonte: PPGH-UFMG, pp. 89, 99, 102; Holanda, F. (2001) Orson Welles no Ceará. Fortaleza: Edições Demócrito Rocha, 2001.

[16] Duarte, P. de Q. (1968). Dias de Guerra no Atlântico Sul. Rio de Janeiro: Biblioteca do Exército Editora.

[17] Nazario, L (2007). Nazi film politics in Brazil, 1933-1942, pp. 94-95 in Winkel, R. V.; D. Welch (eds.), Cinema and the Swastika. London / New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

[18] Duarte, M. (2003). O Guia dos Curiosos: Brasil. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, p. 147.

[19] Anuários estatísticos do IBGE, apud Garcia, M (2009) A censura de costumes no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Biblioteca Nacional, p. 11.

[20] Rodrigues, C. (1971). Censura Federal. Brasília: C. R. E. Editora, pp. 210-211.

[21] Parecer. Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988. [].

[23] Serviço Gráfico do Senado Federal. Atos Institucionais 1 a 6. Brasília, DF, pp. 33-38.

[24] Arquidiocese de São Paulo (1985). Brasil nunca mais, 12 vs. São Paulo: Arquidiocese de São Paulo. Os mortos. Tomo V, v. IV, pp. 1-4; A tortura. Tome V, v. 1, p. 14. [].

[25] Simões (1999), pp. 39-40.

[26] Clair, R (2008). Cineclubismo. Rio de Janeiro: Luminária Academia, pp. 69, 155.

[27] 32 Anos de Mostra Internacional de Cinema. O Estado de S. Paulo (16 October 2008). [, 33651. htm#BB-md-noticia-tabs-1].

[28] Rodrigues, C. (1971). Censura Federal. Brasília: C. R. Editora.

[29] Parecer nº 1.397. Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988. [].

[30] Resposta a Ruy Guerra. Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988. [].

[31] Pinto, L. S. ‘Macunaíma’. Encarte do DVD ‘Macunaíma’. Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988. [].

[32] Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicações Sociedade Anônima (Embratel, 1965); Empresa Brasileira de Turismo (Embratur, 1966); Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos (ECT, 1969); Empresa Brasileira de Infra-Estrutura Aeroportuária (Infraero, 1972); Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa, 1973); etc.

[33] Fico, C (September 2002). “Prezada censura”. Topoi: Revista de História. Rio de Janeiro: Programa de Pós-graduação em História Social da UFRJ / 7 Letras, n° 5, pp. 251-283; Revista Veja (7 October 1970), p. 74; Melo, M. C. C. Cinema e Estado. [].

[34] Parecer do filme ‘Independência ou morte’, apud Martins, W. de S. N (Februar 2008). As múltiplas formas de censura no cinema brasileiro: 1970-1980. Iberoamerica Global, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, v. 1, pp. 24-42, p. 37.

[35] M. C. C. Melo, op. cit.

[37] Bressane, R.; J. R. Terron. José Agrippino de Paula: Os favorecidos de Madame Estereofônica. Trip Online. [].

[38] Parecer e indicações de cortes. Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988. [].

[39] Parecer nº 2161/75. Ibid.

[40] Certificado de Censura nº 48.547. Ibid.

[41] G1. Documentos mostram como censores avaliavam filmes na ditadura. [,,MUL145021-7086,00.html].

[42] L. S. Pinto. Guerra tropical contra a censura. Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988. [].

[43] Ibid.

[44] Parecer nº 5994/80 – cinema / avant-trailer. Ibid.

[45] Among others, the Araguaia Guerrilla (1963-1973), organized in the interior of the country by the Partido Comunista do Brasil (Communist Party from Brazil, PCdoB), a leftist dissidence of the Partido Comunista Brasileiro (Brazilian Communist Party, PCB). This guerrilla ended with 76 dead (59 PC do B militants, 17 recruited in the region). Angelo, V. A. de. Luta armada no campo. Uol Educação. [].

[46] Depoimento gravado do censor Irigolé Pedroso.Parecer nº 5994/80 – cinema / avant-trailer. Ibid.

[47] Silveira, W.; C. Grillo (30 May 1990). ‘Império dos Sentidos’ é censurado no Brasil. Folha de S. Paulo, Ilustrada.

[48] Simões (1999), pp.147-159.

[49] Rangel, M. L. (27 April 1980). O que não pôde ser visto. Jornal do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Caderno Especial: 30 anos de TV, 15 anos de monopólio, p. 2.

[50] [Without Author] (19 Januar 1982). Nem notícias chocantes nem biquínis na TV. Folha de S. Paulo, São Paulo, Caderno Ilustrada, p. 40.

[51] Silva, D. da (1989). Nos bastidores da censura. São Paulo: Estação Liberdade, p. 15.

[52] Pinto, L. S. Cinema brasileiro e censura durante a ditadura militar. Memória da Censura no Cinema Brasileiro 1964-1988. [].

[53] L. F. Vianna, L. F. (2 July 2005). Censura revisitada. Observatório da Imprensa, nº 648. [–27231].

[54] Giobbi, C (17 September 2003) Cenas cortadas. O Estado de S. Paulo, São Paulo, Caderno 2.

[55] Giobbi, C. (17 September 2003). Cenas cortadas. O Estado de S. Paulo, Caderno 2.

[56] Pinto, L. S. (2001). Le Cinéma Brésilien au risque de la censure pendant la dictature militaire de 1964 a 1985. Thèse de Doctorat. Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail (France). École Supérieure d’Audiovisuel.

[57] Gnaspini, J. M. (2003). Di Glauber, o filme como funeral reprodutível. Dissertação de Mestrado. Orientação: Rubens Machado. São Paulo, Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo.

[58] The influential critic Jean-Claude Bernardet, for exemple, wrote an article in 1978 alerting the Brazilian filmmakers: “Beware with the film that only gives profits!” For him, a film should not be paid, a producer could not expect profits, and the directors should fight against the capitalist mentality that made movies a money-make machine. Bernardet, J-C. (2008). Cinema brasileiro: propostas para uma história. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2008, p. 160.

[59] Like Central do Brasil (Central Station, 1998), by Walter Salles, or Tropa de elite (Elite Squad, 2007) and Tropa de elite 2 – o inimigo agora é outro (Elite Squad – The Enemy Within, 2010), both by José Padilha.

[60] The biggest national hit in recent years was the “neochanchada” Se eu fosse você 2 (If I Were You 2, 2009), seen by 5 million spectators. The success of a brunch of recent Brazilian films is due to a combined use of beloved TV “stars”, publicity aesthetic and Hollywood formulas.

[62] Nazario, L. Um filme sérvio – terror sem limites. [].

[63] Plataforma para um novo Marco Regulatório das Comunicações no Brasil. [].

[64] Mídia. Vamos desvelar os donos dessa voz. Em mobilização para a 1ª Conferêcia Nacional de Comunicação – CONFECOM. December 2009. [].

[65] See: Plataforma para um novo Marco Regulatório das Comunicações no Brasil. [].


The Gay Deceivers (Os enganadores, EUA, 1969, 91’, cor, comédia, gay). Direção: Bruce Kessler. Com Kevin Coughlin, Brooke Bundy, Lawrence Casey, Jo Ann Harris, Michael Greer.

Para evitar serem enviados para combater no Vietnã, dois amigos heterossexuais, Danny (Kevin Coughlin) e Elliot (Larry Casey), fingem ser homossexuais diante do oficial militar Dixon (Jack Starrett), que entrevista rapazes alistados no exército. Eles conseguem ser reprovados no exame, livrando-se de ir para a guerra, mas têm de pagar um preço alto por isso, pois passam a ser investigados por Dixon, que desconfia deles.

Para evitar uma possível revisão do julgamento, eles decidem morar juntos no mesmo apartamento e enganar amigos, namoradas e familiares sobre a natureza de sua convivência cada vez mais íntima. Para complicar as coisas, o apartamento que eles alugam fica numa comunidade de gays intrometidos, que vivem “invadindo” o apartamento deles para espiar os dois “pombinhos recém-casados”.

Danny e Elliot não conseguem tampouco manter o pacto de castidade temporária que firmam e que, de fato, precisariam manter para que a farsa que decidiram viver não levantasse suspeitas: o mais sério, que se destina a ser um advogado de sucesso, vive procurando a namorada; o outro, salva-vidas na piscina do clube do pai do amigo, um atleta vigoroso que transpira sexo, mostra-se incapaz de manter o jejum de garotas. O resultado é uma sucessão de mal-entendidos hilariantes e dubiedades eróticas.

Não sei qual o status do filme dentro da “cultura queer”, mas ele deve ter sido o primeiro em alguma coisa, pois visto hoje surpreeende por sua ousadia e atualidade. Tudo ali é datado e, ao mesmo tempo, ali nada envelheceu. O uso dos estereótipos é simultaneamente ingênuo e malicioso; o elenco esquisitíssimo, os cenários berrantes, a fotografia de “cores absolutamente divinas”, as músicas alegrinhas – tudo é um primor de estética camp.

Em The Gay Deceivers, o clima de 1968 é encapsulado numa trama que visita toda a cena gay da época: da homofobia mais mórbida à bichice mais louca, num circulo vicioso azeitado pelo bom humor, que percorre a inteira gama da comédia, da mais tola à mais ácida. É um filme barato, com atores esquecidos até pelo diretor Bruce Kessler, que não sabe bem o que cada um deles faz hoje – Kevin Coughlin morreu logo depois do filme, “atropelado na rua ao sair do carro, parece”, ele afirma no documentário incluído no DVD.

Mesmo com cenas censuradas na época, o filme foi bem recebido pelo público. Visto hoje na íntegra merece o posto de cult favorito. Dois achados: Michael Greer – o senhorio que decorou o apartamento em rosa-choque, carregando-o de cópias baratas de arte homoerótica – vinha do teatro e oferece uma caracterização impagável; e Larry Casey – o galã loiro e musculoso – é visivelmente um homossexual na “vida real”, mas interpreta um heterossexual que tem de interpretar um homossexual na “vida real” do filme. Verdadeiro enganador, entrando e saindo o tempo todo de seus papéis, ele nos lança numa divertida e fascinante realidade em camadas, à qual a cena final se associa de modo brilhante.

30 ANOS DE ‘E.T.’

Íntegra da entrevista de Luiz Nazario para a reportagem de Paulo Henrique da Silva, jornal Hoje em Dia, Caderno Mosaico, maio de 2012.

Trinta anos após o lançamento de E.T., o filme ainda está muito presente no imaginário ou já virou um trabalho valorizado apenas pela repercussão criada na época?

Apenas os pais dos jovens de hoje, os “tiozinhos” que estão agora com seus quarenta anos ou mais, terão uma lembrança viva do fenômeno que foi o E.T. Os jovens de hoje podem mesmo dizer: “Ah, fulano é um ET!”, sem desconfiar que o termo “ET”, usado com sentido cômico na linguagem cotidiana, espalhou-se como vírus pelo mundo graças ao tremendo sucesso do filme de Spielberg. Antes de ET, o extraterrestre, os alienígenas do cinema (e, para os ufólogos, também da realidade) eram geralmente temíveis, assustadores, monstruosos. Depois do filme, eles passaram a ser queridos, simpáticos, amistosos,  ainda que se mantivessem feiosos e esquisitos. Daí o sentido ambíguo, cômico, que o termo assumiu. Surgiram, então, as lendas em torno do “ET de Varginha”, a dupla de comediantes “ET e Rodolfo”,  expressões como “Ele parece um ET”, “Ela é um verdadeiro ET”, etc. O E.T. de Spielberg foi um desses raros filmes capazes de transcender os limites do mero entretenimento, passando a exercer uma influência marcante, visível, sobre toda a sociedade. E Spielberg conseguiu essas proeza com pelo menos mais dois filmes: Tubarão e Parque  dos dinossauros.

Ainda é possível encontrar ingredientes que ainda fazem dele um trabalho singular?

O ET de Spielberg rompeu com os antigos estereótipos do alienígena no cinema paranoico. Ele é o personagem-chave da nova ideologia do “politicamente correto”, que exerce até hoje grande influência em todo o mundo político. Ele representa o fim da Guerra Fria, o multiculturalismo, o sentimento esquerdista e populista que contaminou o cinema e o mundo desde então. O cinema foi invadido pelos “monstros queridos” e os esquerdistas e populistas que hoje estão no poder não foram formados na leitura árdua e anacrônica de Marx e Engels, mas na absorção fácil daqueles filmes politicamente corretos nos quais os monstros tornam-se dignos de nosso amor, mais humanos que os humanos, verdadeiros salvadores do mundo. Nesse sentido, ET foi um dos filmes mais ingênuos e, logo, nefastos, do final do século XX. Com seu humanismo monstruoso e seu pacifismo irracional, deixou a humanidade despreparada para enfrentar a verdadeira monstruosidade. O “amor ao estranho” pode ser positivo no caso das  minorias perseguidas; mas quando petrificado numa ideologia e aplicado cegamente corre o risco de extinguir a liberdade. O próprio Spielberg deu-se conta disso ao perceber a real ameaça do terrorismo, entendendo que o cinema paranoico da Guerra Fria não era apenas propaganda vazia, que o mal absoluto continuava a existir, respondendo então à realidade do fascismo disfarçado de religião com a fantasia mais complexa de Guerra dos mundos.

O que fez de ET um filme tão popular na época? O lado familiar? O mistério misturado a um enredo sobre amizade?

Creio que o ET conseguiu dar vazão, na época, a um acúmulo impressionante de homossexualidade reprimida em todo o mundo, permitindo que ela se extravasasse de modo ainda imperceptível e socialmente aceitável, na figura de um feioso, mas querido, extraterrestre. O ET é um “falo” bom, com seu dedo dotado de uma “cabeça” vermelha e potente, criadora de vida. Os adolescentes apaixonam-se por essa criatura, são capazes de morrer por ele. Especialmente o Elliott, que tem o nome do ET embutido em seu próprio nome, como que penetrado por ele, indissociável dele. A trajetória do ET na Terra é exatamente a do Cristo, com seu calvário, morte e ressurreição. O ET substitui a figura messiânica, salvadora, redentora, do Filho de Deus, para gerações que cresceram em sociedades laicas, sem religião, ou sem muita religião, mas que ainda precisam do Messias, do Salvador, do Redentor, ainda que sob a forma de um ET.

No campo da ficção científica, qual foi a contribuição do filme? Pode-se dizer que é um dos filmes mais importantes do gênero?

O filme é um marco da ficção científica. O ET criou um novo padrão dentro do gênero. Forçou o gênero a um novo limite, cruzando a fronteira da ficção científica para fincar o outro pé na fronteira do melodrama. Com a espetacular trilha musical de John Williams (como definiu Douglas Sirk, “o melodrama é um drama com música”), Spielberg criou um novo gênero: o melodrama de ficção científica. Nunca o público havia se emocionado até as lágrimas com um filme supostamente de ficção científica: gritava, tremia e até ria de nervoso, mas nunca chorava de emoção… O filme representou um “corte epistemológico” no gênero, mudando a visão dos seres extraterrestres no cinema paranoico e até mesmo na vida real, entendendo por “vida real” tanto a vida em sociedade (com as minorias passando a ser mais respeitadas e até amadas apenas por suas diferenças e estranhezas) quanto a vida extraterrestre que muitos supõem existir (com ufólogos prestigiados como nunca e instituições ganhando verbas milionárias e até bilionárias para torrar em pesquisas curiosas e viagens espaciais inúteis).

O que você achou da versão, lançada em 2002, que tornou o filme mais politicamente correto, trocando armas por walk-talkies? A inclusão de novas cenas tornaram o filme melhor?

Foi possivelmente a pior ideia que Spielberg teve na vida. Uma ideia indigna de Spielberg, que tanto procura preservar a memória do cinema, criando e financiando arquivos de filmes, colaborando com restaurações de películas, etc. Não se pode alterar o passado, nem se, com boa intenção, se deseje “melhorar” esse passado, dar a ele uma nova cor, uma nova forma, uma nova roupagem. O que aconteceu, aconteceu. É como colorizar um filme realizado em preto-e-branco para agradar a sensibilidade deturpada do público atual, que geralmente associa o preto-e-branco a “velharias”. Um escritor pode corrigir, modificar, ampliar e atualizar seus livros, a cada edição, pois aí se trata de informações, de dados, de erros que devem ser corrigidos, mas um filme é diferente, é  um documento da época, com seus discursos sublimados, estampados, estilizados. Um filme não pode ser “atualizado” sob a pena de se falsificar, com isso, todo o passado.


Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1943),

Sherlock Holmes and The Secret Weapon (Sherlock Holmes e a arma, EUA, 1943, 80’ na versão inglesa, 68’ na versão americana, p&b e colorizado). Direção: Roy William Neill. Com Nigel Bruce, Basil Rathbone, William Post, Lionel Atwill.

O cientista Dr. Franz Tobel (William Post) inventou uma mira aérea que dá aos aviões bombardeiros uma precisão até então inédita. Ele deseja vender seu invento para os ingleses e precisa escapar dos agentes da Gestapo, que estão no seu encalço, na Suíça. Conta com a ajuda de Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) que, disfarçado de antiquário, consegue despistar os agentes que tentam sequestrar o inventor. Já em sua casa, em Londres, Holmes esconde as partes do invento desmontado em enormes livros encadernados esvaziados de seu miolo e encarrega o Dr. John Watson (Nigel Bruce) da missão de zelar pelo esquivo Dr. Tobel até a apresentação da mira ao exército britânico, na manhã seguinte. Contudo, o inventor apenas finge tomar o remédio para dormir que Holmes lhe administra e aproveita o sono do médico para dar uma escapadela e encontrar sua amante londrina.

Ao sair da alcova, de madrugada, sofre uma tentativa de sequestro, mas consegue livrar-se dos capangas. A apresentação do invento é um sucesso, mas logo descobrem que as peças escondidas nos livros foram roubadas. O inventor desaparece em seguida. A única pista é a amante, que revela que ele lhe confiara, na noite anterior, um envelope endereçado a Holmes, contendo estranhos desenhos. Mas ao buscar o envelope, ela o encontra vazio: também fora roubado. Holmes consegue, graças aos seus conhecimentos de química, reconstituir a nota pelos traços de pressão da escrita na agenda. Tratava-se de um código secreto. Por trás de tudo estava o gênio do mal, Professor James Moriarty (Lionel Atwill), que sequestrara o inventor, roubara as partes da mira e a fórmula de sua montagem. O destino da Inglaterra estava em jogo. A Scotland Yard, Holmes e Watson juntam suas forças para resgatar o inventor e impedir o traidor Moriarty de vender aos nazistas a nova e poderosa arma secreta.

O filme foi restaurado e lançado em DVD na edição americana original de 68 minutos em duas versões: a original em preto e branco e a colorizada. Embora eu não seja um defensor da colorização, bem ao contrário, devo admitir que a intromissão das cores funciona bem nesse filme e o torna até mais interessante. Não se tratando de um clássico, mas de um seriado de produção barata da Universal, que já nasceu como pastiche, a trama mescla dois contos de Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (“The Dancing Men” e “The Empty House”), atualizando-os para o ambiente da Segunda Guerra. A colorização empresta ao remix cores irreais, menos parecidas com as do sistema Tecnicolor da época que com as dos cartazes em tons fortes que anunciavam os filmes ou com as das lindas fotografias coloridas de Londres sob o bombardeio alemão durante a guerra.


Chernobyl Diaries (Chernobyl – Sinta a radiação, EUA, 2012, 86′, cor, terror), de Bradley Parker.

Seis jovens, três homens e três mulheres, resolvem visitar a condenada cidade radioativa de Pripyat, que teve de ser evacuada após a explosão do Reator 4 do complexo nuclear de Chernobyl.  São guiados por Uri, um militar russo reformado, agora dono de uma pequena agência de turismo radical em Kiev, que trabalha sozinho. Justo no dia do passeio, Pripyat está fechada à visitação, mas Uri, pressionado pelos jovens turistas sem noção, acaba entrando em Pripyat por um caminho alternativo. Em meio aos prédios abandonados, sinistros eventos têm lugar, incluindo a irrupção brusca e assustadora, no apartamento que os jovens visitam, em efusões de alegria, de um “urso radioativo do inferno”. O susto os faz querer deixar às pressas o lugar, antes que anoiteça. A diversão radical terminou, e começa então o calvário.

O calvário também será radical. Pois além do urso, e de cães e lobos famintos que chegam com a noite, seres mutantes perambulam por ali, à espreita, e quando os jovens paspalhos tentam escapar a toda velocidade do antro condenado, descobrem que os cabos da van foram devorados por uma desas criaturas enquanto eles passeavam pela cidade fantasma. Eles concluem que a cidade já não andava tão fantasma quanto todos a imaginavam. Logo, os próprios turistas serão devorados, um a um, por mutantes canibais do inferno. Rodado na Sérvia e na Hungria, com atores inexpressivos, em ambientes que simulam as verdadeiras cidades de Kiev e Pripyat, o filme é um lixo nuclear que se deve evitar a qualquer preço.


Entre lençóis (2008), de Gustavo Nieto Roa, com Reynaldo Gianecchini e Paola Oliveira.

O cineasta colombiano Gustavo Nieto Roa realizou Entre lençóis (2008) no Brasil, com equipe e atores brasileiros, e a produção nacional ganha em alguns momentos um acento hispânico, com o erotismo vulgar cedendo ao melodrama romântico. Os personagens são, contudo, universais: tipos modernos, Roberto (Reynaldo Gianechini) e Paola (Paola Oliveira) caçam em boates de luxo e consumam o abate na mesma noite, sem nem sequer saber os nomes um do outro. Abrigados no motel mais próximo, eles se atracam num coito selvagem, depois do qual ameaçam se deixar. Mas algo os prende naquele quarto, onde centenas de outros casais se estrebucharam antes deles em orgasmos, e que imaginamos mal cheiroso apesar de limpo. E eles acabam passando a noite ali jogando conversa fora, firmando um pacto de sinceridade para revelar seus segredos mais íntimos, até se apaixonarem.

Roa conheceu Gianechini durante as filmagens de Sexo, amor e traição (2004) e o quis imediatamente para o papel. Paola de Oliveira parece ter sido também a primeira opção de atriz para a personagem. Os dois jovens atores esforçam-se para manter o interesse do espectador no filme, que só depende mesmo dos atores, pois se passa quase inteiramente no quarto de motel, abusando de closes dos dois corpos. Rodado em dois meses, dentro de um verdadeiro motel, no Rio de Janeiro, o filme se ressente de ter sido feito em vídeo: a imagem não é a melhor que se poderia desejar. A nudez dos personagens, necessária à trama, não é agressiva e até peca por certa timidez, com os atores escondendo os órgãos genitais, jamais vislumbrados. Para os que procuram cenas quentes o filme é uma decepção. As trepadas do casal são apenas um pretexto para cansativas discussões sobre relacionamento.

O filme comporta sentimentalismos baratos, baboseiras a esmo, falação contínua, repetição de clichês, reviravoltas de roteiro, joguinhos de ciúmes e manipulações típicas de novelas das dez, consideradas mais fortes pelas crianças que continuam na sala. Os personagens sofrem de uma estafante normalidade. É um entretenimento feito sob medida para o homem médio comum, desprovido de imaginação, e para o qual o máximo de fantasia erótica é passar óleos aromáticos pelo corpo todo e usar camisinhas comestíveis de vários sabores, ou  fazer uma produção cenográfica com a ajuda de um amigo que, num piscar de olhos, cobre o quarto de rosas vermelhas, espalhando pétalas pelo chão, para que a mulher se sinta uma deusa e, logo, disposta a uma nova trepada. No cinema, somos obrigados a ver tudo isso, mas na TV existe o excelente recurso do fast-forward, que podemos usar aqui com prodigalidade, parando a imagem apenas para conferir um que outro detalhe dos dois belos corpos.


A Very Natural Thing (Algo muito natural, EUA, 1974, 80’, drama). Direção: Christopher Larkin. Com Robert Joel, Curt Gareth, Bo White, Anthony McKay, Marilyn Meyers.

Jovens entrevistados na Gay Pride de Nova York, em 1973, declaram seu orgulho de ser o que são e a alegria em encontrar outros como eles diante da  nova possibilidade de viver uma vida sem mentiras. Uma jovem lésbica conclui os depoimentos declarando: “Ser gay é uma coisa muito natural.” A narrativa propriamente começa com David (Robert Joel), um jovem monge, despedindo-se dos colegas, deixando o mosteiro para viver abertamente sua sexualidade na cidade grande. Dando aulas de literatura inglesa, ele vive em Nova York a efervescência da Gay Liberation.

Numa boate, David apaixona-se à primeira vista por Mark (Curt Gareth). Embora esse empresário bissexual com preferência por homens não compartilhe de sua visão romântica do amor, acaba aceitando viver com David. As coisas só vão bem por algum tempo. Logo as diferentes visões de mundo levam os amantes a um impasse. Mark quer sexo sem juras nem compromissos, David quer sexo com fidelidade e romantismo. Numa das crises do casal, David tenta seguir Mark aventurando-se em orgias. Mas não consegue manter relações promíscuas. Separam-se.

David passa a viver sozinho, na esperança de encontrar um amor verdadeiro. Durante a Gay Pride, cruza com um jovem fotógrafo e militante, Jason (Bo White). Discutem a importância ou não do movimento no sentido de mudar a sociedade. Logo Jason se declara apaixonado e propõe a David uma relação estável. Mas agora é David quem hesita, pois não deseja repetir a experiência que teve com Mark. Acaba recusando a vida compartilhada. Mas o rapaz, que acabou de se separar da esposa, e é pai de um filho ainda pequeno, mostra-se decidido: o filme termina numa imagem idílica dos dois novos parceiros correndo, nus, em direção ao mar azul, à sonhada felicidade.

A narrativa é toda intercalada com depoimentos reais de homossexuais declarando seu orgulho de ser gay, mesclando a ficção à realidade. O filme ganha a dimensão de um documento de época. Os que nasceram na era pós-AIDS poderão se surpreender diante deste filme: o imaginário contemporâneo apagou completamente o espírito libertário que presidia o início do movimento homossexual, presente em cenas de um erotismo quase explícito, mas sem artificialidades, com atores não plastificados vivendo personagens toscos, feiosos, esquisitos, neuróticos, mesquinhos, pobres de espírito, como as pessoas – e os gays – de fato são, com raras exceções.

Mal recebido em sua época pelos homossexuais promíscuos e enragés, engajados na Gay Liberation, que o acusaram de “apoliticismo” e de “moralismo classe média”, o filme fracassou também comercialmente, não encontrando público algum que o prestigiasse. Hoje A Very Natural Thing é considerado pelos críticos como um clássico do cinema alternativo e o primeiro a ser realizado num estúdio americano por um diretor assumidamente gay. Mais que isso, é um dos raros documentos do breve período de liberdade vivido pelos homossexuais antes da AIDS. O diretor Christopher Larkin não pode ou não quis realizar nenhum outro filme, e se matou em 1988.