Towards an Intermedial History of Brazilian Cinema: Exploring Intermediality as a Historigraphic Method
Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)
University of Reading PI: Lúcia Nagib, Co-Is: John Gibbs, Lisa Purse, Alison Butler
Federal University of São Carlos PI: Luciana Araújo, Co-Is: Samuel Paiva, Flávia Cesarino Costa, Suzana Reck Miranda.
Project partners: Tate; Reading Film Theatre; Cinemateca Brasileira.
Start date: 1st October 2015, for 42 months.
This project will focus on cinema’s nature as a mixture of arts and media in order to produce the first, groundbreaking intermedial history of Brazilian cinema. It will also explore the uses of intermediality as a historiographic method applicable to cinema as a whole. To that end, it will bring together scholars from the University of Reading (UoR) and the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), as well as 3 PDRAs, combining expertise in cinematic intermediality, Brazilian cinema, film history, film theory, film and music, film and theatre, film and visual arts, and film and popular culture.
Intermediality has never been applied to cinema as a historiographic method, which is being proposed in this project as an entirely original and promising avenue. Broadly speaking, ‘intermediality’ refers to the interbreeding of artistic and technical medial forms. In this project, it will be used both to indicate film’s mixed nature and to give pride of place to those film phenomena in which hybridity is particularly notable. The focus will be Brazilian cinema, which from its early days has combined extra-filmic artistic and cultural forms, resulting in an original aesthetic blend. Artists coming from theatre, opera, dance, music, circus, radio, television and the plastic arts left a distinctive mark on film production in the country, apparent in practices such as: the 1920s movie prologues; the chanchada musical comedies of the 1940s-60s; the 1950s productions from the studios Maristela, Multifilmes and Vera Cruz; the Tropicália cinematic outputs, spanning the 1960s-80s; the 1990s árido movie production; and the contemporary wave of music films. The investigators will conduct intensive archival and filmographic research on these periods, as well as interviews with relevant artists and experts, so as to substantiate the premise that these hybrid phenomena break the boundaries between local and imported traditions, high and popular cultures, passive and active spectatorship, ‘classical’ and ‘modern’ narrative forms, constituting a democratic space par excellence for artistic and social expression.
Through the organisation of conferences and numerous publications, the project will benefit academics and researchers willing to find new ways of understanding film history away from evolutionary and hierarchical schemes. The project will also benefit the general public through impact events at Tate Modern, the Cinemateca Brasileira and the Reading Film Theatre.
Programme: 30 September 2015
Cinema, Minghella Building (Whiteknights Campus)
17:30 – Introduction by Professor Steve Mithen (UoR PVC Research)
17:40 – Presentation of the Project by Professor Lúcia Nagib (UoR PI)
18:00 – Presentations by Dr John Gibbs, Dr Lisa Purse, Alison Butler (UoR Co-Is)
18:15 – Virtual presentations by Dr Luciana Araújo (UFSCar PI), Dr Flávia Cesarino Costa, Dr Samuel Paiva, Dr Suzana Reck Miranda (UFSCar Co-Is)
18:45 – Wine Reception