This paper requires you to analyze a feature film made in and about Brazil. The film should be a fictional or fictionalized account (not a documentary), and should deal with some substantial aspect of Brazilian society or history. In doing this paper keep in mind that, as fictional accounts created typically for commercial/entertainment purposes, these films are not direct representations of Brazilian reality. Just as Hollywood films do not necessarily provide an accurate portrayal of everyday life in the US, neither do Brazilian films intend to be faithful reproductions of the typical or the everyday, even when made in a quasi-documentary style. But we can assume that any Brazilian film is inflected with notions about Brazilian history, society, and culture, and your assignment is to analyze a movie from that perspective. For example, what does the film tell us (or try to tell us) about racial attitudes in Brazilian society? What does it tell us about contrasting images of rural and urban life, or regional differences? about assumptions regarding the causes of poverty and inequality? about changing gender roles and shifting attitudes about sexuality? These are just some of the questions you might explore when viewing a particular film. Furthermore, you need to consider the specific historical moment of the films creation, and how that would influence its portrayal of the past. So your paper should situate the film in two moments: the period being portrayed, and the period when the film was made.
The first step is to choose a film (presumably available either on the internet or on DVD or videotape in the Avery Fisher Center in Bobst Library) that you might wish to analyze. If you have difficulty either gaining access to a film, or to the necessary video equipment, please let me or your recitation instructor know. I have listed some appropriate films below, and you are strongly urged to select one of those. Only in rare instances will a substitution be allowed, and ONLY with prior approval. If you hand in a paper based on a film that has NOT been approved, it will automatically get an “F”. Please be prepared to indicate which film you have chosen in the recitation section meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 11th.
Aside from the video collection in Bobst Librarys Avery Fisher Center, some of these films are available on YouTube (though not necessarily with English subtitles). Cited below are some publications that provide an extensive list of Brazilian film titles, as well as a sense of the ways in which historians and other scholars analyze film. You are not required to consult them, but they might prove helpful.
This paper should be approximately 5 pages long (typed in a 12-point font, double-spaced), and is due on the day of the final recitation section meeting of the semester, on Wednesday, Dec. 9th.
HAVE TO USE THE FILM “THEY DON’T WEAR BLACK TIE” BRAZILIAN FILM