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WAYS OF LISTENING IN A VISUAL MEDIUM
The Documentary Movement in Brazil
The new prominence of documentary films seems to be an almost universal phenomenon within world cinema. But in each country, the specificity of national-historical experience necessarily imprints its own character on the form. In Brazil, the contemporary documentary movement cannot be understood without reference to the highly political film-making of the early 1960s, a time when direct-sound techniques were becoming a central device in the cinéma vérité of Jean Rouch, or the ‘direct cinema’ of Richard Leacock, Robert Drew and the Maysles Brothers. For Brazilian documentary makers, the synchronized capture of sound and image permitted the presence of popular voices, mainly of peasants and migrant workers, in a cinema deeply concerned with power relations and people’s living conditions.  For the trajectory of documentary cinema in Brazil during the 1960s and 1970s, see Jean-Claude Bernardet, Cineastas e imagens do povo, São Paulo 2003 (2nd edn). Already in the mid 50s, the films of Nelson Pereira dos Santos had pointed the way towards following the example of Italian neo-realism and making movies in the streets.
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- Mario Sergio Conti: Rise of the Image-Makers A leading journalist considers the transformations in Brazil’s media sphere in the post-dictatorship period. Reporters turned marketeers, policies become products, money and power ever more tightly interwoven, within a landscape reformatted by new technologies.
- Patrick Wilcken: The Reckoning Unlike its neighbours, Brazil has yet to confront the crimes of its military dictatorship. As a Truth Commission sifts evidence of torture, killings and disappearances—many of whose survivors are now in high office—what will be the upshot of a belated accounting with the past?
- Ying Qian: Power in the Frame Origins and mutations of the PRC’s independent documentary movement. From vanguard to grass roots, and from passive observation of a country in flux to a politicized, activist cinema, turning its lens onto the workings of power.