The military coup in Brazil completes 59 years this Saturday (1st). Due to a transition to democracy that did not foresee the judgment of the executioners of the period nor the preservation of the memory of the 21 years in which the authoritarian regime ruled the country, it fell to the arts to retell Brazilian history from 1964 to 1985.
In books, cinema, theater and songs, a Brazil emerged that was blocked by generals. The story told by the Armed Forces then began to rival the testimonies of family members and friends of victims, people who were persecuted by the military.
With the rise of Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to the Presidency of the Republic, in 2019, the military returned to power and the new government tried to impose a process of naturalization of dictatorship violence — which, in its version, would have been used to combat a supposed “communist threat” in the country.
:: ‘Society needs to understand that there was a dictatorship, yes’, says counselor of the Amnesty Commission ::
O Brazil in fact prepared a list of ten films that tell the story of the military dictatorship. The works opened up the absurdities of the cellars of battalions and police stations where thousands of Brazilians lost their lives fighting for freedom and democracy.
Check the link:
1. Baptism of Blood
This film, which bears the same name as the book written by Frei Betto, narrates the courageous undertaking of Dominican friars in the late 1960s. The religious helped hide militants opposing the dictatorship and, in some cases, managed to get them out of the country. Among those protected, Carlos Marighella. Watch the trailer.
2. The brand
With an inspired performance by actor Paulo Betti, who plays the protagonist, the film narrates the last period of life of Captain Carlos Lamarca, who deserted the Army and became part of an armed group that fought against the dictatorship. Watch an excerpt from the film.
3. What is it, mate?
The work tells the spectacular story of the kidnapping of Charles Burke Elbrick, US ambassador to Brazil, in September 1969. The diplomat’s retention was planned and carried out by members of the MR-8 and Ação Libertadora Nacional (ALN) groups. Watch the trailer.
4. The day that lasted 21 years
The documentary shows how the US government was directly involved with the 1964 coup and the military dictatorship in Brazil. The period lasted 21 years until the re-democratization, in 1985. Watch the trailer here.
In 1978, a group of artists provoked the morality and good customs policed by the military dictatorship. In a theater/cabaret, located between two cities in the Northeast of Brazil, the shows of the troupe, known as Chão de Estrelas, were performed. Watch the trailer.
6. Zuzu Angel
The film portrays the story of a mother who decided to go in search of justice when she discovered that her son had been tortured and killed by the dictatorship. See the trailer.
7. Blind Man
Tiago is a leader of a revolutionary group in Brazil in the 1970s and fights against the military dictatorship. One day, he is injured by the police and has to hide in the house of a contact in the group he leads. There, he is taken care of by Rosa. As time goes by, he becomes suspicious of whether he is safe and whether his hosts are traitors. See the trailer.
8. The year my parents went on vacation
A 12-year-old boy is rushed by his parents to his grandfather’s house, where he must stay hidden, as his parents abruptly leave for vacation. When the parents leave, still on the same day, the grandfather dies and the child is in the care of the family’s neighbor. Watch the trailer.
9. Forward, Brazil
Jofre, a middle-class worker who keeps his distance from political issues in a Brazil already immersed in the military dictatorship, is dating a militant opponent of the regime. One day, Jofre shares a taxi with a man who is accused of being part of revolutionary groups and ends up arrested. In prison, he is tortured. The story takes place at the same time as the 1970 World Cup. Watch an excerpt from the film.
The film narrates the last years of life of ex-deputy Carlos Marighella. The starting point is his departure from the PCB and his option for armed struggle, when he founded the National Liberation Action (ALN). Released during the Bolsonaro government, the film was the target of several attacks from the far right. See the trailer.
Editing: Nicolau Soares
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