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.

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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
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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

aimed more at children than adults. Unsurprisingly, many pornochanchadas (the soft-core porn comedies to be discussed in Chapter 6 ) also include Benny Hill-style high-camp chase and fight sequences. For example, in Histórias que nossas babás não contavam (Stories Our Nannies Never Told Us, 1979), an erotic spoof of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, an effete outlaw is chased and deliberately allows himself to be caught by Costinha, his

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

of the sexual romps depicted on screen involve biting, for example. In fact, a number of scenes in Macunaíma are reminiscent of the fledgling pornochanchada genre, to be discussed in detail in Chapter 6 , particularly those that depict a bone-idle protagonist constantly on the lookout for a smutty, all-consuming kind of sex, referred to in Macunaíma via a euphemism, the verb brincar (to play), a

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001
Catherine L. Benamou and Leslie L. Marsh

Rabinow ( 1984 : 188–225, 206–56); Foucault ( 1994 ). 9 For more information on the history of Embrafilme, see Dahl ( 1995 : 105–8), Johnson ( 1995 : 362–86); Johnson ( 1987 : 137–70). 10 A useful discussion of the pornochanchada appears in Dennison and

in Hispanic and Lusophone women filmmakers
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Stephanie Dennison and Lisa Shaw

. 72 Ibid., p. 139 (our translation). 73 Ibid., p. 140 (our translation). Similar efforts were made by certain filmmakers in the 1970s to assert the differences between the pornochanchada and erotic comedies, as examined in Chapter 6 .

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

Hollywood movies or even a well-known star, Atlântida’s relationship with the North American film industry evolved in the 1950s, giving rise to sophisticated film parodies. The studio thus gave the chanchada genre a new comic twist, that would be further exploited by the pornochanchadas of the 1970s, as discussed in Chapter 6 , not least in the Brazilian Version’ of Jaws , entitled Bacalhau (Codfish

in Popular cinema in Brazil, 1930–2001