Film Industry in Brazil


The Brazilian Film industry has had its ups and downs. Brazil was first introduced to film by foreigners during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The first cinema in Brazil – the Salão das Novidades Paris – was opened in Rio de Janeiro in 1897. The Italian immigrant who started it – Paschoal Segreto – sparked Brazil’s love of film from then on.


The first few decades saw Brazilian cinema struggle to make its way on to an international stage, it would not be until the 1960s that it would emerge full bloom. In this time however, the film industry fostered the world’s first Brazilian movie star – Carmen Miranda. She starred in chanchadas, a popular genre at the time, which consisted mostly of musical comedies and short dramas.


The golden age of Brazilian cinema was in the 1960’s, called Cinema Novo. Literally meaning ‘New Cinema’ this period saw many young film makers taking to creating movies with social themes. Heavily influenced by Italian neorealism and French new wave films, it opposed the then current prevailing style of musicals, comedies and Hollywood epics. The father of Cinema Novo was Glauber Rocha – arguably Brazil’s most famous director to date – His films are the standard of Cinema Novo such as, Deus e o diablo na Terra do Sol (Black god, White Devil) and O Dragão da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro.


This golden age ended in 1972, after which Brazilian film production saw a decline. It was not until the economic growth that came with the Plano Real in 1994 did Brazilian film get its revival. Now it is a thriving industry which produces films that are well received by international viewers and film critics alike. Some notable films well worth watching are:


Central do Brasil (Central Station) 1998 – A drama that centers around the emotional journey of a former school teacher who helps a young boy search for his father after his mother had passed away. It was nominated for 2 Oscars, and won another 41 awards including a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for best foreign film.


Cidade de Deus (City of God) 2002 – A thrilling drama that follows the lives of two boys growing up in the poorer neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro. One becomes a Drug Dealer, whilst the other becomes a Photographer. It was nominated for 4 Oscars, and won another 70 awards. It is considered the 21st best film in the world, and the best Brazilian film by the critics at IMDb.