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.

The dollars are coming!

While post-war popular cinema has traditionally been excluded from accounts of national cinemas, the last fifteen years have seen the academy’s gradual rediscovery of cult and, more, generally, popular films. Why, many years after their release, do we now deem these films worthy of study? The book situates ‘low’ film genres in their economic and culturally specific contexts (a period of unstable ‘economic miracles’ in different countries and regions) and explores the interconnections between those contexts, the immediate industrial-financial interests sustaining the films, and the films’ aesthetics. It argues that the visibility (or not) of popular genres in a nation’s account of its cinema is an indirect but demonstrable effect of the centrality (or not) of a particular kind of capital in that country’s economy. Through in-depth examination of what may at first appear as different cycles in film production and history – the Italian giallo, the Mexican horror film and Hindi horror cinema – Capital and popular cinema lays the foundations of a comparative approach to film; one capable of accounting for the whole of a national film industry’s production (‘popular’ and ‘canonic’) and applicable to the study of film genres globally.

Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

Brazilian popular cinema, at least until the 1980s, can be seen as a direct descendant of other shared cultural experiences. Just as a line can be traced from British music hall, via saucy picture postcards, radio comedy and holidays at the seaside to the Carry On films with their contemporary references, so too is it possible to read the special intimacy which popular films in Brazil achieved with their

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001
Valentina Vitali

1 The time of popular cinema For 80 per cent of humanity the Middle Ages ended suddenly in the 1950s; or perhaps better still, they were felt to end in the 1960s. (Hobsbawm 1995: 288) An important characteristic of academic publications on popular cinema is that, by and large, they discuss films made between the late 1950s and the early 1970s. Occasionally, earlier pre-World War Two films are considered,1 but this does not contradict the fact that writing on popular cinema tends to cover the period from the end of the Korean War (1950–3) and the debacles of

in Capital and popular cinema
Abstract only
Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

This book provides a chronological study of popular cinema in Brazil since the introduction of sound at the beginning of the 1930s. Its prime object is to show that the Brazilian films that have appealed most successfully to popular audiences since then have engaged with intrinsically home-grown cultural forms, dating back to the nineteenth century, such as Brazil’s version of music hall, the travelling circus

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

Ruy Guerra’s Ópera do malandro ( Malandro, 1985), as examples of the new approach of veteran cinema novo filmmakers to depicting popular culture and making popular cinema, to examples of the ever-popular cinema rodrigueano in the 1980s, and the so-called ‘abertura naturalism’ films. Finally, mention will be made of the impact of the consolidation of the hard-core porn genre on Brazilian culture and society

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001
Abstract only
National cinema and unstable genres
Valentina Vitali

, Movie’s position: consisted of Leavisite literary criticism on the one hand, which, although dominant in departments of literature, became oppositional when mobilised in relation to something it had never been designed for, namely cinema; and, on the other hand, Cahiers du cinéma’s formulations of the politique des auteurs, the only precedent for a systematic oppositional polemic in favour of a ‘popularcinema. (Willemen 1983) In the decade that followed François Truffaut’s 1954 essay ‘Une certaine tendance du cinéma français’, the term ‘popular cinema’ primarily

in Capital and popular cinema
Valentina Vitali

away the body. Overcome by this series of events, Nora faints. She wakes up the next morning at the hospital, where her account of the extraordinary events she resolutely claims to have witnessed is explained away by the doctors as  the effect of too vivid an imagination, blaming explicitly her regrettable p ­ assion for giallo books. She returns to Trinità dei Monti with 34 CAPITAL AND POPULAR CINEMA Marcello, but no trace of the murder can be found. On the contrary, under the spring  sun the Spanish Steps look as joyful and serene as a picture postcard. Nora

in Capital and popular cinema
Abstract only
Valentina Vitali

Conclusion If canonical texts [are] always symptomatic of the culture in which they [are] produced and communicated, then the culture itself must be resonant with the text in ways more complicated than historians have necessarily assumed. (Withington 2013: 16) In the mid-1990s anthologies began to appear that discussed as ‘popular cinema’ films similar to the ones examined in this book. But the reinscribing of horror, giallo and other unstable genres into the histories of national cinemas, rather than in anthologies specifically devoted to what has been left

in Capital and popular cinema
Abstract only
The cinema of Fernando Méndez
Valentina Vitali

understand how El vampiro circulated globally and came to be written into the history of cinema in just this way – in short, to assess critically the expectations that underpin its international reception – the film and its director must first be situated in their historically specific film industrial and broader cultural context. In what follows I map the career of Fernando Méndez against the growth of the Mexican film 78 CAPITAL AND POPULAR CINEMA industry and the changes the country underwent in the two decades after World War Two. As will become apparent, by the

in Capital and popular cinema