Poster for God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun, 1964
I truly love movies and movie posters. Currently Brazilian film is experiencing a kind of renaissance, but it was not always this way. In this post I’d like to share a series of posters for Brazilian cinema, and also give some context in which the films and posters were created. In the first part of this post, I’m going to show some posters of films released before the end of the dictatorship period. In a next post, I’ll show the movies after this period.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s, Brazil had a considerable movie industry, exporting talents such as Carmen Miranda to Hollywood. The above two posters were for two very popular comedies. Almost all of the actors in these films were also well-known and radio stars.
Barravento (1962) was the first film from Glauber Rocha, the mastermind of the “Cinema Novo” movement. The poster that opens this article is for another Rocha film, “God and the Devil in the Land of Sun” from 1964. The motto of the Cinema Novo movement was “A camera in the hand and an idea in the head.” Rocha defied the structures of Brazilian cinema by doing something new, shooting entirely on location with almost no production money.
In 1964, Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco took seat as the first president of Brazil’s military dictatorship, which would last until the mid-1980’s. During this time, little resources were available for making films, and those that were created risked being banned for being “culturally inadequate.” Many writers, actors, directors, singers and journalists were arrested and tortured during this time; some of them disappeared.
Movies like the one above were very common during the years of dictatorship—nonsense comedies focused on showing half naked women in funny and silly situations.
In 1974, “Dona Flor e seus dois Maridos” (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) directed by Bruno Barreto took the top of the Brazilian box-office. More than 2 million people went to the theaters, a record only beaten last year. This movie revealed Sonia Braga to the world, and she would later build acting career in the U.S. and marry Robert Redford. The poster for Dona Flor, as well as the posters for Ana Terra and Al Infedilidade, were drawn by the great Benício, considered one of the greatest Brazilian illustrators. He did lots and lots of movie posters. To me, he is sort of like Drew Struzan.
Stay tuned for a post in the near future about Brazilian film posters from the 1980’s to the present.