The films produced in São Paulo in the 1970s became well-known for their experimentation, creativity and daring, and they were all characteristically striking in their thematic and aesthetic diversity.
Such diversity can also be found in the MIS archive: photographs, objects, videos and films that tell various stories about São Paulo’s art and culture. One of these stories is the subject of this exhibition, put together from materials that have been researched within the museum’s collections, regarding the films produced in São Paulo between 1968 and 1980 and the filmmakers who were active in the city during this period.
Greater São Paulo was host to a significant cinematic event for Brazilian Cinema in the 1950s: the founding of the Cinematográfica Vera Cruz production company. As a result of the company’s development, the city of São Paulo came to be home to film schools, such as the São Paulo Cinema Studies Centre and the São Luiz Film School of Higher Education, which produced some of the young artists who would later become renowned in Brazilian cinema in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.
Jairo Ferreira, a critic, filmmaker, and actor born in São Paulo, was a close friend of many of the contemporary filmmakers and was well-versed in what he called “The Cinema of Invention”. He penned powerful phrases which he used to identify some of the directors who are paid tribute to here: “Ozualdo Candeias – An Advanced Departure Point”; “Rogério Sganzerla – Hidden Earthquake”; “Carlos Reichenbach – Synergy of Cineutopia” and “José Mojica Marins – Total Genius. (Jairo Ferreira, “The Cinema of Invention. São Paulo: Limiar, 2000).
Many more talents appeared in São Paulo during this time, such as Roberto Santos, Luis Sérgio Person, Walter Hugo Khouri, Ana Carolina, João Batista de Andrade, Carlos Ebert, Hermano Penna, Hector Babenco, João Silvério Trevisan, Jairo Ferreira, Júlio Calasso Júnior, José Agripino de Paula, Andrea Tonacci, among others.
In movie theaters...
Peripheral, underground, “da boca”, political, experimental, innovative… Many labels were used to attempt to define the films produced in São Paulo in the 1970s. A number of the productions from this period, some of which have been represented in this exhibition, were markedly auteur films.
It was during this same period that auteur cinema made great strides, producing such fascinating films like Bang-bang (Andrea Tonacci), Awakening of the Beast (José Mojica Marins), The Prophet of Hunger (Maurice Capovilla), Nenê Bandalho (Emílio Fontana) , Orgy or the Man Who Gave Birth (João Silvério Trevisan), Sea of Roses (Ana Carolina), The Woman of Everyone (Rogério Sganzerla), The Angel of the Night (Walter Hugo Khouri), Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind (José Mojica Marins), Love, Prostitute Word (Carlos Reichenbach).
After beginning his career as a film critic and filmmaker in São Paulo, Rogério Sganzerla directed and produced “The Abyss” in Rio de Janeiro, which included songs by Jimi Hendrix and memorable interpretations by Norma Bengell, Jorge Loredo and José Mojica Marins.
With a more popular appeal and commercial tendencies, the films produced by and starring Amácio Mazzaropi grew to be successful in the 1970s following the opening of his own film studios in the city of Taubaté, in the state of São Paulo.
The strength of political cinema in the ‘70s.
Some filmmakers became involved in more politically questionable productions. Regarding these films, notable highlights include behind-the-scenes and promotional material pertaining to productions such as “Arms Crossed, Machines Stopped”, “Colonel Delmiro Gouveia” and “The Man Who Became Juice”.
“Super 8: just a hobby or genuine cinema?
At its inception, it was merely something of leisure for those who had skill, taste and some money. Weddings, parties, graduations or holidays were no longer reproduced via the antiquated frames of slides. The fever in the homes led to more common usage in the industry, such as tests for adverts, sales promotions or in the field of training. Meanwhile, the Super 8 camera was also being given a definitive significance following a strong cinematic movement of festivals in various states around Brazil.
The countless technical innovations that were released – some of which were very close to professional standards – were proof of the potential of Super 8 from the very beginning. It was aggressively embraced around the world and especially in Brazil. And Brazilians revealed that aside from being musicians, poets, doctors and lunatics, they were also filmmakers”.
Text by Abrão Berman and published in a pamphlet for the 7th Super National Super 8 Film FestivalSão Paulo, 1979.
Abrão Berman was one of the most important filmmakers of the Super 8 movement, and founded the GRIFE in 1972 (the Group for Independent Filmmakers of Experimental Productions), which became responsible for the organisation of the Super National Super 8 Film Festival between 1973 and 1983. The GRIFE was also a teaching centre for Super 8 beginners.
Super 8 productions reached their peak during the 1970s. At the beginning of the 1980s, the format quickly became obsolete, principally due to the popularisation of video.
The MIS archive contains an important collection of Super 8 films that have been screened at various editions of the Super National Super 8 Film Festival.Aside from the films, film equipment can also be found among the archive, such as the cameras on display here.
All of the content in this exhibition belongs to the MIS Archive and can be viewed on the website or at the Mediateca.
Supervisão geral — André Sturm
Curadoria — Patrícia Lira e Renan Daniel
Pesquisa em vídeo — Jorge D´Ângelo, Patrícia Lira, Renan Daniel e Wilson Basso Neto
Digitalização de cartazes — Letícia Godoy
Digitalização de fotos — Gildo J. Rocha
Edição de vídeos — Gildo J. Rocha
Conselho de Administração — Cosette Alves (presidente), Antônio Hermann (vice-presidente), Cecília Ribeiro, James Sinclair, Marcello Hallake, Max Perlingeiro, Nilton Guedes, Olivio Guedes e Simone Gil Braz