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TitleFilm as a subversive art
PublisherRandom House
ISBN 139780394490786
CategoryArts - Film
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size78.5 MB
Total Pages536
Table of Contents
                            Cover.pdf
Index.pdf
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Document Text Contents
Page 2

INDEX


INTRODUCTION

\

THE FILM EXPERIENCE

THE WORLD VIEW OF
SUBVERSIVE CINEMA

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ravishing guerilla fighter who loves red hammocks but unfortu-
nately carries her bombs beneath their baby lying in its carriage.

A con-man sells him a magic duck that defecates instead of laying
golden eggs. He gives an impromptu political speech denouncing mos-
quitoes, balconies, and smallpox only to be branded as a Communist.

He talks to a vagrant who persuades him to break his balls and eat them;
but there are always willing girls to cure him. After a brief stop-over

at a leper colony, the film ends with a gargantuan open-air party,
at which assorted bourgeois are forced to swing across a sumptuous

swimming pool filled with piranhas, with predictably colorful results.

The visual elegance of the images and decor is as satisfying as the bold
use of striking, sensuous colors and compositions. The charmingly

bizarre and "naively sophisticated events and ideas testify to the
presence of a very modern cosmopolitan sensibility, jaundiced by
corruption and class privilege, lovingly aware of the true cultural
matrix of his country. To this filmmaker, the cinema is a medium

of magic and of revolution: a revolution of attitudes and character
rather than of propaganda. A marvelously joyful melange of pop
tunes accompanies Macunaima's incessant progress to ultimate
defeat: a charming vulgarity expresses the film's disregard of
puritan conventional values. The multi-racial mixture of cast,

events, and bodies totally bypasses the problem of "integration",
and a playful, ideologically-based cruelty further contributes
to a truly foreign film experience; not every day are we told in

the cinema that it is "each man for himself and God against all".

It would be difficult but not impossible to misunderstand this film as
a harmless dadaist romp. But the underlying vision is philosophical

and dark. The main themes are the Little Man as victim (and, still
worse, as accomplice), the world as an alien and inexplicable place,
the blind stupidity and implicit cruelty of privilege and class power;
and finally, the need to recapture a genuine Brazilian folk ethos, a
link with an indigenous culture free of foreign domination. In all
these respects, Macunaima personifies the best artistic and social
aspirations of the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement, that intrepid
and desperate band of directors who attempted to portray the real

Brazil and whose risks in making their films were not always financial.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

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NOW
(Santiago Alvarez, Cuba, 1965)

A powerful attack on American racialism,
based entirely on newsreel materials and

closely edited to Lena Horne's rendition of
"Now". Documentary shots often provide

symbolic statements: in this case, flag,
stick, black boy, policeman, and faceless
anonymity of both generalize an event.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

PRATO PALOMARES
(Andre Faria, Brazil, 1970) (F)

This extraordinary work has the dubious distinction of being
the most famous unseen film of contemporary world cinema.

Officially announced at the Cannes Festival for two consecutive
years, it was withdrawn both times due to pressure by the Brazilian

government. It is a scream of anguish, a nightmare of defeated revolt,
and repression, an expressionist confrontation of radical ideology,
self-doubt, compromise, incorruptibility, and eternal subversion.

Two cornered, wounded guerillas hiding in a church and a mysterious
woman who joins them form the center of its delirious tableaux, their

desperate talks soon superseded by police (abetted by Americans)
who proceed to torture. It is a tribute to Faria's control over his

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RELATIVITY
(Ed Emshwiller, USA, 1966

Man neither dominates this composition nor is he
necessarily dwarfed by it; he faces the sun squarely,

questioningly, and with determination. He, the earth
he stands on, the air he breathes, the vegetation sur-
rounding him, are one. Significantly, Emshwiller's

visual metaphors of man's place in the universe
draw on both science and metaphysics.

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ENTR'ACTE
(Rene Clair, France, 1924)

"The End" -- but not the end. The
daring destruction of the otherwise
inviolable end-title subversively dis

rupts the illusion of cinema and visually
reaffirms the openness of experience.

THE SUBTERRANEAN COLLECTION

FILM AS A SUBVERSIVE ART: MAIN INDEX

SUBTERRANEAN CINEMA

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