This book provides a chronological study of popular cinema in Brazil since the introduction of sound at the beginning of the 1930s. It begins the study with a brief discussion of how people understand the term 'popular cinema', particularly within a Latin American context. The focus is on films that have intentionally engaged with 'low-brow' cultural products, whose origins lie in pre-industrial traditions, and which have been enjoyed by wide sectors of the population, chiefly at the lower end of the social hierarchy. Perhaps the most important contribution of the chanchada of the 1950s was to render visible a social class within Brazil's socio-cultural landscape, and to champion the underdog, who succeeds in triumphing, through malandragem, over more powerful opponents. Brazilian popular cinema, at least until the 1980s, can be seen as a direct descendant of other shared cultural experiences. Popular film in Brazil is littered with examples of carnivalesque inversions of societal norms and established hierarchies. The 1930s witnessed the rise of the radio, the record industry and the talking cinema. The first half of the 1940s witnessed a continuation of Getúlio Vargas's quest for economic expansion based on the creation of a dignified workforce, rewarded for its efforts by improvements in the welfare system. The book also looks at three very popular cinematic sub-genres which provided a continuation of the chanchada tradition in Brazilian filmmaking: the films of Amacio Mazzaropi; those of the comedic quartet known as the Trapalhoes; and the so-called pornochanchada series of films.

Abstract only
Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

; those of the comedic quartet known as the Trapalhões; and the so-called pornochanchada series of films. The second part of the chapter concentrates on three of the biggest box-office successes of all time in Brazilian cinema: Carlos Diegues’s Xica da Silva ( Xica , 1976); Bruno Barreto’s Dona Flor e seus dois maridos ( Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands , 1976) and Neville D’Almeida’s A dama do lotação ( Lady on the Bus

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001
Abstract only
Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

inhabitant of Brazil’s urban spaces. The physical appearance and facial expressions of stars like Oscarito, Zé Trindade, Grande Otelo and the Trapalhões permitted them to each become the synecdoche of large swathes of an ethnically diverse population. They all came to embody national identity, and even more affluent Brazilians could enjoy the victories of these underdog characters, whose physical appearance implicitly mocked the

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001
Abstract only
Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

. Cinema novo, utopia and popular culture Many of the films that have been examined so far in this study, the chanchada, the films of Mazzaropi, those of the Trapalhões and Coffin Joe, and the pornochanchada, are about as far removed as is possible from classic 1960s cinema novo, the films that Brazil is best known for on an international art-house stage. But as was witnessed in its Tropicalist phase

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001
Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

while he sang. Within popular cinema, four such ‘clowns’ are Mazzaropi (who would also burst into song in his films), Oscarito and Grande Otelo (the well-known double act of the Atlântida chanchadas, both renowned for their facial expressions), 21 and Mussum, the black member of the Trapalhões, to be discussed in Chapter 6 , who combines a background in music (samba) with, again, humour based on

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001
Abstract only
Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

-office success in the 1990s include Renato Aragão of the Trapalhões (see Chapter 6 ), and Xuxa Meneghel, children’s entertainer and media phenomenon: Lua de cristal ( Crystal Moon, 1990); Xuxa Popstar (2000); Xuxa e os duendes ( Xuxa and the Elves, 2001) and Xuxa e os duendes II: o caminho das fadas ( Xuxa and the Elves II: the Road to the Fairies, 2002). Popular chat show host (and erstwhile

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001