I woke this morning thinking of Brazil.

Why Brazil? Shouldn’t I be thinking of the middle east? No. It’s history and values, it’s particular brand of magic escapes me.

Brazil rocks. Brazil is endlessly fascinating, rich, full of contradiction but blazing with sensual, positive, life-affirming color.

I put on David Byrne’s collection of Brazilian music, Beliza Tropical, given to me by a brilliant acquaintance.

made my way to Amazon and bought a used copy of Mario de Andrade’s Macunaima,  from a bookseller in Oregon. It should be fascinating.

I am finding a lot of cool art. Portraits of Andrade. Pronounce the last ‘d’ as a ‘j’.

I devoured Brazilian Film at the U of Iowa. Odd juxtaposition, yes.

It was a way to explore the world, visually, poetically, from a seat in a darkened room, the cerebral womb where the hungry mind’s eye is fed by cinema. I’ll bet the mid-century French New Wavers thought so, too.

Pleasurable and inexpensive (except for the massive student loan debt) I was in a dream world that felt like home.

This portrait of Mario de Andrade is from the Brazilian blog Mara Hati and 007. It is written, no doubt, in Portuguese.

The photograph is from the New World encyclopedia Andrade entry. Andarade was a big man. I love his smile. Andrade was a poet, an essayist, critic, photographer and musicologist who practically invented ethnomusicology, they say.

There was a Brazilian filmmaker with that name. Joaquim Pedro de Andrade. He made a film based on Macunaima.

Read a 2007 filmlinc article CANNIBAL AESTHETICS: The zigzagging career of Brazil’s Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, written for a screening of Andrade films in New York.

Here’s an excerpt from Olaf Moller’s article for the Lincoln Center event:

“The five features and nine shorts made by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade constitute one of the major oeuvres of Brazil’s Cinema Novo. Their poetics are a shock to the system: playful, lewd, spontaneous, courting controversy, juggling contradictions, panegyrical even in their condemnations, and entirely political.

Brazilian cinema today looks provincial and pallid compared with the exuberance and overabundance of Cinema Novo, which aligned itself with the late-Sixties cultural ferment known as Tropicalism.

Mixing indigenous customs and forms with whatever was fresh from here, there, and everywhere, Tropicalism was a sensual pop-art movement in which polymorphous perversion and social subversion ran wild. Its roots lay in the modernist Anthropophagy movement of the Twenties, which sought to define Brazilian culture in terms of eclecticism, experimentation, mutation, and heterogeneous collectivity, while refuting Western classicism, linear development, and realism—in other words, presenting reality as one long movable feast.”

Ah, music to my ears.


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