Entranced Earth (1967), Glauber Rocha

Essentially a parable of 20th Century Brazilian politics, Glauber Rocha’s 1967 Entranced Earth, with its poetic metaphors, psychological insights and personal perspective, demystifies both the right and the left and shows us what rises from the ashes of political destruction: ecce homo.

entranced-earth-2Within Glauber Rocha’s tour de force of Cinema Novo (Brazilian New Wave) there lies every Brazilian who has ever lived. For the film speaks of what typifies people’s feelings towards politics: a historical disenchantment. Paulo, the protagonist of Entranced Earth a.k.a. ‘Land in Anguish’ [Terra em Transe] is the epitome of Brazilian disillusion with the political class, and more pertinently, with political life in general. Perhaps, it is to do with the centuries of entrenched inequalities and the blind ignorance of some pressure groups. Or maybe it comes from a fatal flaw in the people’s DNA. What is certain however is that this masterpiece contains the story of Brazil. Continue reading

City of God (2002), Fernando Meirelles

A visually and morally audacious picture, Fernando Meirelles’ 2002 City of God, this violent, frantic, sprawling and elliptical tale of crime and poverty in a suburban slum of Rio de Janeiro, poses tough, controversial questions about income inequality and social justice.

city-of-god-2How does one fight injustice in a just way? Try and escape a prison erected before you’ve even been born. What would you do to make ends meet? What moral limits you’re prepared to accept in order to feed, house and raise your family? Any at all? City of God [Cidade de Deus] depicts the lives of people who have been dealing with such tough questions all their existences. It is easy to moralise from afar. It is arrogant to criticise choices we don’t have to make. It is safe to point the finger when there are no crime lords around to slice it off. Continue reading

São Paulo S/A (1965), Luiz Sérgio Person

A masterpiece of existentialist cinema, Luiz Sérgio Person’s 1965 São Paulo, Sociedade Anônima tells the tale of one man and his quest to desingage from modern society, the trappings of material success and the people around him, whom he seems unable to connect with.

sao-paulo-sociedade-anonima-2To be surrounded by millions of people and to feel alone. To have several sexual encounters and be disconnected from anyone around you… To live in modern times and paradoxically feel like a slave to the god of technology – to be entrapped within the mega-machine… Carlos, the protagonist of São Paulo S/A, aka ‘São Paulo, Sociedade Anônima,’ is the modern man par excellence. Continue reading