For Street Cinema memories
Glauber Rocha taught me to perceive, at the heart of Cinema Novo, the real possibility of a national cinema going beyond a purely commercial logic. Art, to some extent and with all the difficulties, still resisting as a stage for something uncertain, unexpected. A space of plural resistance, of the creative singularity of each director, of each film, where the obvious and the predetermined, of lucrative Hollywood formulas, refuse to happen. Glauber put on stage the most genuine desire to practice what is instigating: experimentation, transformation, freedom.
Little by little, it became increasingly difficult to find expressions of similar will, even more so with the growing dominance of major US productions in Brazil. The very space for experiencing the cinema was being transformed, shifted to large shopping centers. From the popularization and socialization of street cinemas to the mere commercial reduction and elitization of the public, with an increase in ticket prices and the experience of going to the cinema as a whole. Popular festivals and local productions were put in the background by the protagonism and profitability of blockbusters. The popcorn carts on the street removed from the scene by the exorbitant prices of food courts in malls… Surprisingly, despite seeming almost extinct, some spaces for meeting the unknown still resist.
In the search for one of these places in Passau, I had the joy of finding the unexpected. In this small town on the border between Germany and Austria, 10,000 kilometers away from Brazil, a street cinema was showing the Brazilian feature "Corpo Elétrico", by Marcelo Caetano. Film that I was lucky and pleased to watch during one of the only two sessions that took place in Juiz de Fora. A film that reminds me of Glauber's genuine will, which, more than understanding, dares to invite us to feel. Corpo Elétrico made me reaffirm there, in the darkness of the emptied rows of that German street cinema, how surprising and fascinating these spaces are that, with a lot of effort, still encourage what is instigating and diverse. After having lived for seven years near the last street cinema in Juiz de Fora, I have never felt so close to home even so far away.
References and recommended reading: «O Brasil em tempo de Cinema Novo», Maria do Socorro Carvalho; «Tão Longe Tão Perto», Márcia Bessa e Leila Ribeiro.