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 Post subject: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:51 pm 
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Glauber Rocha (1939-1981)

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"We know - we who make these sad and ugly films, these desperate films where reason doesn't always possess the loudest voice - that hunger will not be cured by the planning of the cabinet and that the strips of Technicolor will not hide but amplify its tumours."

FILMOGRAPHY

Patio (1959) (short)

A Cruz na praca (1959) (short, unfinished)

Barravento (The Turning Wind) (1961) Versatil

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (Black God, White Devil) (1964) Versatil / Mr Bongo

Amazonas, Amazonas (Amazonia, Amazonia) (1966) (short)

Maranhao '66 (1966) (short) included on Versatil Terra em transe DVD

Terra em transe (Earth Entranced / Land in Anguish) (1967) Versatil

1968 (1968) (short)

O Dragao da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro (Antonio das Mortes) (1969) Versatil

Der Leone Have Sept Cabecas (The Seven-Headed Lion) (1970)

Cabecas Cortadas (Severed Heads) (1970)

Cancer (1968 - 72)

Historia do Brasil (History of Brazil) (1974)

Claro (1975)

Di Cavalcanti (1977) (short)

Jorjamado no cinema (Jorge Amado in Cinema) (1977) (medium-length documentary)

A Idade da Terra (The Age of the Earth) (1980) Versatil


GENERAL DISCUSSION

Black God, White Devil (thread actually focusses more generally on the Brazilian Rocha DVD releases)

South American Cinema on DVD


RECOMMENDED WEB RESOURCES

TempoGlauber - Exhaustive official online archive of all things Glauber

Festival des 3 continents - Glauber Rocha Retrospective

Senses of Cinema profile

ArtandCulture profile

Cinema Novo and Beyond - retrospective programme notes

Wealth and Poverty in the Cinema Novo - basic introduction to Cinema Novo and Glauber Rocha


DVD

Versatil releases (Brazil)

Mr Bongo release of Black God, White Devil


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:19 am 
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Thank you, zedz!
A few things from my bookmarks:
For purposes of comparison, there's a listing similar to the above, here.

It might be worth adding the documentary on Rocha, Glauber o filme: Labirinto do Brasil. There's a Mexican DVD of it, subtitled in Spanish only, unsurprisingly.

A review of Black God, White Devil.
A couple of other NYT reviews (login required) written following a 1970 Rocha series, Antonio das mortes and Terra em transe, and here is Vincent Canby's NYT review of Barravento (1961) from 1987.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:33 pm 
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Thanks, Gregory.

Some comments on the Rocha films I've seen (part one):

Barravento

Rocha's first feature was an inherited project. His first film, the short Patio, apparently inspired riots, with outraged patrons slashing the cinema seats to prevent subsequent showings. I have no idea why, since I haven't seen the film, but it's a great story nevertheless. His second short was never finished, and he started out on Barravento as producer, only reluctantly stepping in to direct when the director appeared unable to deliver (only two of his shots remain in the film, supposedly). Rocha would say that he "gained a film but lost a friend"; on an interview included here, Luiz Paulino dos Santos tartly counters that he lost both film and friend.

Despite the troubled production, and the somewhat conventionally neo-realist basis of the project, it's a great film, evolving before your eyes what would ultimately become Glauber's style. His unruliness and contradiction is rather more constrained in this film, so this might well be the ideal entry point to his challenging oeuvre.

Content-wise, Barravento is a cross between La terra trema, Que Viva Mexico! and I Walked with a Zombie, and stylistically those reference points are also relevant, as the film combines Visconti's documentary urgency (with an operatic edge), Eisenstein's dramatic, self-conscious compositions (deepish focus, dutch angles, unusual group shots) and Tourneur's entranced atmospherics.

It's an unusual mix, with Welles and Kalatazov / Urusevsky also on the dance card, and in key scenes Rocha's characteristic intellectual tension synthesizes the disparate styles into beautifully original expression. Although this is a Marxist film, Rocha completely respects the 'superstitious' spiritualism of Bahia, and documents the rites and rituals of Candomble in awed detail. And he manages to balance both of these ideas without placing them in opposition to one another. That kind of embracing of contradictions and refusal of traditional First World dichotomies would play an even more active role in shaping his subsequent films. It doesn't do a lot for their didactic clarity, but it does make them eminently revisitable: they often seem to take the form of political allegories, but they don't easily resolve themselves into simple messages.

Barravento extracts from its initially simple polar conflicts (town vs country; capital vs labour; belief vs skepticism; black vs white) a number of superb scenes in which the implied point-of-view is ambiguous (Are we inside or outside the cultural practices depicted? Is this reality or a cinematic stylisation? Is this phenomenon natural or supernatural?): the carefully observed ritual in which Naina is entranced; a matching pair of dance-duels (more elegantly conceived than its descendant, the machete duel between Antonio and Coirana in Antonio das Mortes); and the frantic montage that represents the barravento itself.

The Versatil disc is superb. It's a wonderful restoration, and, as with all of these Glauber discs, the restoration documentary is excellent and revealing. The other extras are exemplary, including over an hour of interviews with academics who illuminate the film's many facets (founding text of Cinema Novo, component of the multi-director Bahia trilogy, ethnographic record, political tract and so on).


Black God, White Devil

Some time in the mid-eighties I caught a documentary celebrating the whateverth Cannes Film Festival with clips from films in past competitions. It was a somewhat more challenging version of the standard clip-film, with an emphasis on presenting coherent sequences (you got the whole sequence of Mouchette rolling down the bank, for example; and a fair chunk of the opening dream sequence from 8 ½, as I recall) rather than glib interstitial ironies. At that early stage of my cinephilic fervour I could recognise or had heard of most of the films, had seen a few of them and was tantalised with many I hadn't, but the clip which knocked me upside the head was a brief scene from Black God, White Devil. It was a film and a director I'd never heard of, and it looked like no film I'd ever seen.

I couldn't exactly articulate what it was about that brief shot (a shaking circular one from the end of the film) that seemed so exciting and alien to me, but it was to do with the whole package: the avidity and obsessiveness of the gaze, the immediacy and tactility of the image, the unexpected accompanying sound - all completely entrancing and intoxicating, more modern yet more primitive than anything else in the compilation. Even if the whole film wasn't like that, what kind of film could contain such a shot?

Thus began a quest to learn more about Glauber Rocha and, above all, to see this presumably astonishing film. I soon found a book on Cinema Novo, which made me even more desperate to see Rocha's films (and those of Dos Santos, Guerra, de Andrade et al), but the actual films remained elusive.

I found something of what I was looking for in the rough vigour of Pasolini's films, wondered whether El Topo was somehow along the same lines (what a disappointment that would be!), but an actual encounter with Cinema Novo was perpetually forestalled.

It was only when this DVD was issued a few years ago that I finally caught up with Rocha's actual cinema, and the film was quite different than I expected: denser, and both more structured and more unstructured. That specific shot (and others like it) was present and correct, but it was only one of a dozen or so stylistic directions Rocha was pulling in throughout the film, and the film itself was continually threatening to explode with the ferment of all its possibilities and contradictions. It was sort of a western, sort of a political allegory, sort of a passion play, sort of a post-modern self-reflexive Godardian experiment, sort of a chthonic folk narrative (with balladic narration). But those contradictions of sophistication and naivete, Marxism and mysticism, genre and radical experimentation were all held in balance so that ultimately the film was just its own sui generis thing. That long-ago extract did indeed signal a film like nothing I'd seen, but on actually seeing the film I realised that my conception of 'nothing I'd seen' was ridiculously limited - not least for the presumed unity of the Trojan Horse 'thing' sitting complacently in the middle of that construction.

Which is a very roundabout way of saying that this is a very difficult film to talk about. It has to be experienced, and your first experience might not take: the film can appear confused, lumpy, impenetrable or obtuse. It's a bit like riding an untamed stallion (not that I do much of that) - if you want to get anywhere, you just have to get back on and hang on for as long as you can - and maybe it will take you somewhere you haven't been before. In the meantime, just keep your eye on the stunning landscapes (including a 'Holy Mountain' sequence that puts Jodrowsky's to shame) and your ear on the fine eclectic score (dusty folk songs vs. Villa Lobos).

This was the first Rocha film issued on DVD (unsurprising, given its status as "the greatest Brazilian film of all time"). It's a great package, but unlike all the subsequent Versatil discs, only the feature is subtitled. Great if you speak Portugese, but the language-locked might prefer to go for the UK Mr Bongo film-only edition.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Earth Entranced

I know people who can't get their head around Black God, White Devil and find this much more accessible. It's probably more relatable to some of the radical European cinema of the time, plus it's more urban, it's whiter and its political dimension is much more explicit, but, on an initial encounter at least, I find this film far more impenetrable and alienating.

It's still visceral and magnificent, but I find its political dimension weirdly mysterious, despite its explicitness. The film portrays rival demagogues (or wannabe demagogues) feinting at one another through backroom machinations, media exploitation and passionate public displays. The turbulent political climate in Brazil at the time, with the intensifying pressure of the military dictatorship that ultimately forced Rocha and other artists into exile, permeates the film, but this doesn't seem to be a simple reflection of real events or a straightforward allegory. It's more like an abstraction of the politics of the time, or the politics being employed as an allegory for something else entirely. The film's engagement with colonialism is more direct, but it also feels more metaphorical than the previous films.

The film focusses on Paulo, a journalist who straddles / explores the dividing line between politics and poetry, and it ends / begins with the character exploding into violent but ultimately futile action. On our way from Point A to Point A we're confronted with a series of chaotic rallies, Dionysian parties, violent showdowns, conspiratorial discussions, and television parodies.

If Barravento was La terra trema + Que Viva Mexico! + I Walked with a Zombie, and Black God, White Devil, I don't know, Simon of the Desert + Man of the West + At Land, then maybe Earth Entranced is Alphaville + 8 ½ + Memories of Underdevelopment. Except that it's nothing like that, or only like that momentarily, if you consider moments in isolation.

Stylistically, the film is extrordinarily fragmentary - even more so that Black God, White Devil - with Rocha taking the lessons he'd learnt from Eisenstein and Godard and using them to dismantle bourgeois cinema before our eyes. Sound is assaultive and incongruous - as is, frequently, silence - and the montage is often violent and barely associative. What is for me most liberating about Rocha's radical montage style in this film is the way it plays with point-of-view. I thought of describing it as having a 'fluid perspective' on events, but the leaps in point-of-view from shot to shot are anything but fluid. 'Unstable' doesn't do the trick either, since the perspective leaps are constructed carefully into sequences. In some cases there's a leap in narrative mode from sequence to sequence, as when some material is presented in the form of a mock current affairs broadcast, but more often there's a bracing uncertainty about where the next shot within a sequence will be coming from. As fatcats conspire on a rooftop patio we suddenly leap to a God's-eye-view of the scene looking straight down on them from hundreds of feet in the air (it's a static shot, not a helicopter fly-by). With the next shot we're jolted back to eye level. (Still, why shouldn't we be considering God's perspective on what's going on?).

Throughout the film, Rocha forces the viewer to juggle multiple perspectives on the same actions, some character-driven but some purely style-driven. There's a great cut when Sara enters Paulo's office for the first time, begins to remove her sunglasses, and then the shot starts again. The repetition evokes memory's facility for instant replay ("this," it seems to say, "was a significant moment") but it does so without implying that it's either Paulo's or Sara's memory in particular that's being evoked. In fact, for a film that plays so strenuously with shifting perspectives and points-of-view, often expressed through a roving hand-held camera, it seems to carefully avoid shots that identify themselves as first-person within the world of the film. When the camera swoops around a dissipated soiree it does so as an implicit participant in the festivities, but not as any particular one. Similarly, when characters from time to time address the camera directly, they're addressing the audience in scrupulously Brechtian fashion, not addressing another character.

It's a very demanding film: there's so much happening in every scene, and the cultural referents are, for me and probably many others, elusive, but it's riotously alive at every moment and I can't take my eyes off it.

The Versatil disc is another triumph, with an incredibly detailed multi-part documentary that runs longer than the film itself and contains some fascinating context and behind-the-scenes information. It seems, for example, that we have Glauber to thank for Straub's Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach. When he met Straub at a festival in 1967 (Cannes or Locarno, I guess) and heard that he couldn't get funding to finish the film, he simply handed Straub the prize money he'd just received for Terra em transe.

Also on the disc is another excellent restoration documentary and Rocha's short reportage Maranhao 66. It seems a little odd to me that the discs so far have avoided including contemporaneous shorts (i.e. no Patio on Barravento, no Amazonas, Amazonas on Black God, White Devil, no 1968 on Antonio das Mortes), even though many of them are extracted in the supporting documentaries - I wonder if they're planning a disc of the shorts later on? The exception made here is presumably because of the very close connection between short and feature in this case, Terra em transe incorporating a handful of shots from the documentary.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:43 pm 
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Looks like it's just me here! Oh well, pressing on. . .

Antonio das Mortes

This was my most anticipated Rocha film after Black God, White Devil, partly because it's a sequel to it, but mostly because of its formidable reputation.

I was surprised to find it rather less stylistically radical than the two preceding features. Shot by shot, it's much more traditionally assembled (though remaining conceptually outre within those shots), relying heavily on sequence shots rather than the frenetic montage of Terra em transe. Young Fassbinder may have been watching (and may have named Rio das Mortes in tribute to Rocha): the frontal, theatrical style of this film's mise en scene and performances seems very similar to what would settle down as Fassbinder's 'early style' pre-Merchant of the Four Seasons, and even suggests the connective tissue between those domestic dramas and the wilder, performative Niklashausen Journey (perhaps his most Glauberian film).

Though the film is relatively straightforward syntactically (if only in relation to the two previous features) it gets seriously wiggy towards the end, particularly when we end up rolling around in the desert dirt with the Woman, the Professor, the Priest and a Corpse (sounds like the set-up for a whole genre of jokes), and Rocha's disjunctive soundtrack is as provocative as ever. The ballad commentary (and even some of the songs) return from Black God, White Devil, and the opening shot simultaneously references and thumbs its nose at the Leone westerns it coopts, accompanying its stylised death scene with what sounds like a Morricone parody played backwards.

The films's literal title is "The Evil Dragon versus the Warrior Saint" - a St George reference that gets pagan and political spins in the film. Rocha's allusive elusiveness is once more in play, with the film at first aligning Antonio and Coirana as dragon and saint but ultimately recreating its St George tableaux with the local despot as evil dragon skewered by a black revolutionary saint on horseback. By this point in the story Antonio has had a change of heart, allowing the final scenes to play out as a radical sertao pantomime version of Ride the High Country. Rocha was apparently one of Peckinpah's earliest fans (but I confess I doubt I'd have spotted the reference if it hadn't been spotted for me), but the weird thing is that his heightened, bloodier and more ritualistic version of Ride the High Country actually ends up closer to The Wild Bunch, which was being filmed at roughly the same time. Looks like he really was channelling Peckinpah (or vice versa).

The extras here are even more exhaustive than usual. The documentaries include background information on Cinema Novo and one segment specifically devoted to clarifying the murky distinction between Cinema Novo and Tropicalismo. I'm not much the wiser. Apart from the fact that Tropicalismo was not restricted to cinema, I don't see the clean break. Tropicalismo's concern with Brazil's indigenous and marginalised cultures seems very consonant with many of the earlier Cinema Novo films (particularly Rocha's, going back to Barravento). The crucial difference seems to be colour and celebration, but since Antonio das Mortes is Rocha's first colour film, it's hard to adduce this film as evidence of a post-Tropicalismo aesthetic.

The colour on this transfer is genuinely striking, and the restoration documentary on this disc is the best yet, showing how its sharp, searing images were recovered from a patchwork quilt of generally awful, washed-out and incomplete prints (it also explains why the French subtitles for the folk songs are unavoidable). The transformation is astounding, and all the evidence elsewhere on the disc supports the idea that this almost psychedelic colour saturation was exactly what Rocha was after - there's a great story about how the lab they used had to upgrade its lamps because the negative delivered was too dense to be copied with the usual equipment.

The extras include a sprawling, endless Scorsese appreciation which is hilarious. It makes you realise that almost every other Scorsese introduction you've seen must have been either edited to hell or scripted within an inch of its life. Scorsese is a huge fan of this film, and admits to stealing inspiration from it all the way back to Mean Streets, but he doesn't really get deeper than that wild enthusiasm. Unleashed, however, he does keep on for a good half hour ranging all over the place (why he didn't like Sergio Leone films, what's wrong with young Hollywood actors nowadays, what other films he saw back in 1969, wondering if he should answer the phone) while continually dragging himself, kicking and screaming but without much effect, back to Antonio das Mortes. Wonderful stuff.

Jean-Pierre Gorin is also on board, but he characteristically dispatches his much more to-the-point anecdote (about Rocha's performance in his and Godard's Vent d'est) in a couple of minutes.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:23 am 
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zedz wrote:
The extras include a sprawling, endless Scorsese appreciation which is hilarious. It makes you realise that almost every other Scorsese introduction you’ve seen must have been either edited to hell or scripted within an inch of its life. Scorsese is a huge fan of this film, and admits to stealing inspiration from it all the way back to Mean Streets, but he doesn’t really get deeper than that wild enthusiasm. Unleashed, however, he does keep on for a good half hour ranging all over the place (why he didn’t like Sergio Leone films, what’s wrong with young Hollywood actors nowadays, what other films he saw back in 1969, wondering if he should answer the phone) while continually dragging himself, kicking and screaming but without much effect, back to Antonio das Mortes. Wonderful stuff.

If it was possible to youtube that, it would be fantastic.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:47 pm 
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Cancer

While Rocha was waiting and waiting for the filmstock for Antonio das Mortes to be cleared through customs, he made use of the actors he had on hand in Rio to improvise this project and film it on 16mm. It was abandoned once Antonio das Mortes started up, but Rocha took the raw footage with him when he went into exile and assembled it in 1972, three features later.

The result is utterly anarchic and rough as guts - I don't think the print I saw of it even had titles and credits - but it's vital and fascinating, though probably strictly for the converted. It seemed pretty perverse to me that the Tate Modern began its Rocha retrospective with this film. The idly curious might have been unlikely to come back for seconds.

There's a vestigial narrative involving ne'er-do-wells in Rio, but it's intercut with documentary footage (including serious public discussions about Terra em transe). The assembly seemed to me loose and rambling (it's a series of longish shots joined together rather than a typically 'edited' work, in anticipation of the long-take aesthetic of Antonio das Mortes, presumably) and the dramatic scenes hit and miss, but it was fascinating to see Rocha operating in such a different mode for this film, one much closer to the more experimental Sao Paulo vibe of Rogerio Sganzerla (The Red Light Bandit), who'd also serve as partial inspiration for Rocha's final film, The Age of the Earth.

Here's what Glauber had to say for it: "The film does not have a story. There are three characters and violent action. I was interested in making a technical experiment, concerning the problem of the resistance of the duration of the cinematographic take. There, we can see how the technique interferes in the cinematographic process. I decided to make a film in which each take would have the length of a chassis, and study the almost elimination of the editing when there is a verbal action and a psychological action in the same take." Thanks Glauber.

I don't know if Versatil will be bold enough to release this film on its own, or whether they'll add it as an extra on a forthcoming disc. If that were to be the case, I would have thought Terra em transe or Antonio das Mortes to be the likely contenders. The elements probably aren't in great nick, and the extracts of the film that have featured in documentaries on the existing discs look pretty ratty, but considering the wonders they managed to work with Antonio das Mortes, we can be cautiously optimistic.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:39 pm 
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The Age of the Earth

Well, this will be a challenge. Rocha's final film sort of encompasses everything he'd done (at least in terms of his Brazilian films - I can't speak for the works made in exile) and pushes elements of his aesthetic (intensive montage, long takes, improvisation, ritual, radically dismantled narrative structures) to sometimes contradictory extremes.

It's wild and unruly. Rocha instructed that the film's sixteen reels could be screened in any order, and this DVD represents just one possible permutation. The film is defined by its excesses, which take all manner of forms:
- A spectacular opening shot (reminiscent of Silent Light's - though a different reel shuffle could put this at the end or in the middle of the film) that almost imperceptibly zooms out from a saturated sunset, creating a beautiful evolution of lens flares
- Not one Christ figure, but four, inhabiting different folds of the film's very loose narrative fabric and at the same time also representing the four writers of the gospels and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse (you can identify them by their tooth necklaces)
- Overacting that would make Klaus Kinski blush (a blond Maurizio do Valle - the former Antonio das Mortes - occupying the central role of crass imperialist John Brahms, even resembles a fat Kinski, as if all the scenery he's chewed has gone straight to his belly)
- Scenes in which passages of dialogue are repeated over and over again, sometimes in multiple takes, sometimes in a single one.
- Reel-long handheld takes (during which the camera sometimes inverts itself - out of boredom?) rammed up alongside frenetic bursts of extremely fast cutting
- Scenes of extended psychodramatic improvisations (an Oedipal triangle - how fresh!) during which you can hear Rocha's shouted directions urging the actors to even greater heights of emoting - almost as if he was trying to do George Kuchar straight
- Incredibly dense and dissonant sound mixes that layer multiple music tracks, chanting, dialogue and sound effects (though there are also extended bouts of silence)

Rocha seems to be pushing everything to extremes in search of some kind of ecstatic truth or transcendence (and sometimes he's onscreen or on the soundtrack literally doing that). In some scenes he fails, in some he fails badly, but in some he really does seem to be pushing through into a new cinematic universe that's rich and strange. The first few sequences, for example - that sunset; an elaborate, chaotic ritual that introduces the first Christ; a dizzying ultra-Vegas public parade - are rich in beauty, texture, colour and movement, and function really effectively as a kind of free jazz cinema. There are a few sequences that seem very close to the psychedelic intensity of Kenneth Anger's Invocation of My Demon Brother.

The film has - unsurprisingly, given its intended mode of assembly - a modular reel-by-reel coherence rather than an overall one, with extended sequences defined by their setting, style and characters giving way to completely different sequences with their own internal identity. Various characters and ideas return from time to time, and there are also sequences which add material at a meta-level (e.g. a very useful recent history lesson). The first cut of the film was apparently four and a half hours (out of 36 shot), and it probably makes no more or less sense at any of those lengths.

So does it add up? The film is so anarchic and patchy that it can't possibly make a coherent whole, but somehow it does work for me as an oddly fitting summing up of Rocha's cinema. Actors, locations and ideas return from earlier films (St George is there to evoke Antonio das Mortes; we seem to arrive at one point on the beach where parts of Barravento was shot; Brahms is identified as a "cancer") and the film's diffuse aesthetic runs the gamut of the various modes Rocha had worked through.

Near the end of the film, Rocha's visionary mission seems to be unveiled in what might be his most direct political statement within a film, and it's an idea that retrospectively seems to explain much about his restless, contradictory oeuvre, making sense not only of the internal contradictions of his films but the leaps in style and approach between them. What he's trying to materialise is a new form of democracy, a Third World democracy, that synthesizes capitalism and socialism and brings Christianity along for the ride. As a Utopian ideal it may not be especially coherent or practical, but it helps explain why Rocha had always been so adamant about not reconciling or rationalising in any conventional way the contradictions his films contained. The Age of the Earth contains more contradictions than ever, and sometimes they rupture the shape of the film, but it's an oddly moving and appropriate last testament. Somehow it works, even when its component parts are falling apart onscreen.

As usual, the Versatil disc sports a superb transfer with eye-popping colour and extensive supporting documentaries (though this is the only disc so far in which the film itself runs longer than the extras - the film is two and a half hours long, however).


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:47 pm 
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Rocha's films, enjoyed reading them as usual and can proudly state to having watched each and every one of his movies that you've explanated on this thread (save for Cancer). Rocha's filmography is one amazing jewel in the crown of the very best cinema made in the world during the 20th century.

Everytime I see one of his movies is like watching a feverish dream, borne out of one man's galvanizing imagination. Everything is so intense, so in your face, so OTT (but just the right size), that at the end you feel both exhausted and exhilarated. I can only stomach seeing one of his movies from time to time because the acumulative energy of watching them all back to back in, say, a retrospective would be too much for me.

That said, my current favorite Rocha movie is Age of the Earth. It is such an incredible summation of everything he has ever done before and also an amazing promise of things to come (though it's a bit hard to think where he'd go from there) that it left me awestruck from start to finish. So beautifully shot, too.

I await the day Criterion hopefully introduces America to the work of this amazing man and master filmmaker. He truly deserves some serious reassessment.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:29 pm 
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Lino wrote:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Rocha's films, enjoyed reading them as usual and can proudly state to having watched each and every one of his movies that you've explanated on this thread (save for Cancer). Rocha's filmography is one amazing jewel in the crown of the very best cinema made in the world during the 20th century.

Thanks for your moral support! I think we're the world's smallest fan club.

Quote:
That said, my current favorite Rocha movie is Age of the Earth. It is such an incredible summation of everything he has ever done before and also an amazing promise of things to come (though it's a bit hard to think where he'd go from there) that it left me awestruck from start to finish. So beautifully shot, too.

I have to admit that I found several reels of this film irritating / infuriating, but the energy level is so high that it acts like a vortex that just sucks you in. Rocha's throwing so many ideas around, and mixed in - sometimes in the same sequence - with the stuff that doesn't work at all (for me) are things that make you go "wow! how come nobody else has ever thought of that?" or "Why couldn't this work? Maybe it does?" I was almost tempted to leave it running as a kind of ambient loop (might try that, actually). This film is much greater than the sum of its parts.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:09 pm 
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I've just ordered a Region 2 'Black God White Devil', which will be the first film of his I'll have seen: I've been keen to check him out for some years as he sounds like an exciting and vibrant film-maker.
I note 'Antonio Das Mortes' is also currently available but I'm waiting for the price to drop.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:12 pm 
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Entranced Earth by Mr. Bongo
No extras as usual (pity, because the Brazilian release extras have English subtitles) but dirt cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:29 pm 
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Where can I get these Rocha DVDs? I've only seen Black God, White Devil and would love to see more.


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 Post subject: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:16 am 
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For those who might be interested, Cinémathèque québécoise in Montréal will be conducting a hefty retrospective of Rocha's works in February. Most of the titles will be projected with French subtitles, with an exception of A Idade da Terra and Lion has 7 Heads being subtitled in English and História do Brasil with no subtitles at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:59 pm 
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NilbogSavant wrote:
Where can I get these Rocha DVDs? I've only seen Black God, White Devil and would love to see more.

The excellent Brazilian DVDs are probably easiest to find on ebay, and the four most recent editions (Barravento, Earth Entranced, Antonio das Mortes, The Age of the Earth) are available as a box (Link). These ones are all fully subbed, including extras. Black God, White Devil is available separately, but only the feature has English subs.

I poked around Brazilian sites when I was looking for these, but the shipping was punitive on most of them. I've never come across them at bargain prices, but these discs are Criterion quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:53 am 
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Antonio das Mortes from Mr Bongo in July.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:14 am 
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I've seen Land in Anguish/Entranced Earth and found it, yeah, structurally and visually quite mind-blowing but rather cold and impenetrable. I needed to do a lot of reading after just to keep up with the plot, and I think the story ends up just bogging itself down with all the doubletalk and political machinations. Still, a pretty impressive flick from a visual front, and I think he takes the fragmented structure further than even Godard did.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:45 pm 
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Just thought I would put this here as well,

Versatil will be releasing Rocha's 1971 film Der Leone Have Sept Cabeças with Jean-Pierre Léaud, No release date yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:16 pm 
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If we're very lucky, we might get a batch that mops up all the films made in exile, like that last set that completed the Brazilian works. But even a single release will make me squeal with glee.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:25 pm 
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^ I hope so as well. I have been wanting to watch Claro with subs (Youtube has the film without English subs.).

The films made in exile are actually the ones I would love to see Criterion put out (even in an Eclipse release). Would be a nice little set.

Also have to wonder when Versatil will start thinking Rocha blu-rays, seeing as they are releasing in that format now.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:50 am 
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This might just be interesting for me and you zedz,

I found this pic of Der Leone Have Sept Cabeças and under it in portuguese (used Google Translate) reads:

"This film was made in 1970 by Glauber Rocha, Congo Brazzaville, Africa.
The original negatives have been preserved by Cineteca Nazionale in Rome, Italy. In 2009, with the encouragement of Márcio Meirelles, Secretary of Culture of the State of Bahia, has signed a partnership between Time Glauber, the Brazilian Cinema, the Cineteca Nazionale of Rome and ABCV-Bahian Association Film and Video in order to repatriate the original materials, restore and revive the film in new 35mm prints and DVD.
The method adopted by the Brazilian Cinema was scanning format in 4K and 2K digital restoration done by Mega Studios. This process enabled the construction of a new array of high definition and a new 35mm negative.
The sound in its original version in several languages ​​was recovered from the 35 mm single copy in an advanced state of deterioration and Umatic tapes, and its restoration was performed by JLS Sound facilities."


I also found this video which don't know what is being said but it has a small scene (at the :40 second mark) from the film which looks like it could be from the restoration.

Hopefully this is what we get with the Versatil release, so I thought it might be something interesting to read. If only Criterion was interested in releasing Rocha's films though, we could see a great blu-ray release.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:43 pm 
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Given the generosity of the extras on the previous Versatil discs, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they see fit to include Cancer on this new edition. It seems to have survived in ratty condition, which is fine, even appropriate, and although it's feature length I can't imagine it would sustain a release in its own right.

EDIT: SpiderBaby, we're going to get this thread to its second page even if it kills us!


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:27 pm 
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If I knew anything I'd help to get to that second page. I do wish his films were more easily available. Maybe this resotration will work its way like the recent Kadr ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Glauber Rocha
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:48 pm 
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zedz wrote:
Given the generosity of the extras on the previous Versatil discs, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they see fit to include Cancer on this new edition. It seems to have survived in ratty condition, which is fine, even appropriate, and although it's feature length I can't imagine it would sustain a release in its own right.


That would be a welcome addition.

Quote:
SpiderBaby, we're going to get this thread to its second page even if it kills us!


Keep up the good fight.

knives wrote:
If I knew anything I'd help to get to that second page. I do wish his films were more easily available. Maybe this resotration will work its way like the recent Kadr ones.


Even though I have spent $40-$50 each to import his films, I would buy them all over again if they could become available in the U.S., and if restorations are done. Still weird to me Criterion still hasn't even flirted with the idea of releasing his films, because in my opinion, he is up there with any name you can throw out.


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