cover of book

A Century of Brazilian Documentary Film: From Nationalism to Protest
by Darlene J. Sadlier
University of Texas Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-1-4773-2523-0 | eISBN: 978-1-4773-2525-4
Library of Congress Classification PN1995.9.D6S23 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 070.18


Since the late nineteenth century, Brazilians have turned to documentaries to explain their country to themselves and to the world. In a magisterial history covering one hundred years of cinema, Darlene J. Sadlier identifies Brazilians’ unique contributions to a diverse genre while exploring how that genre has, in turn, contributed to the making and remaking of Brazil.

A Century of Brazilian Documentary Film is a comprehensive tour of feature and short films that have charted the social and political story of modern Brazil. The Amazon appears repeatedly and vividly. Sometimes—as in a prize-winning 1922 feature—the rainforest is a galvanizing site of national pride; at other times, the Amazon has been a focus for land-reform and Indigenous-rights activists. Other key documentary themes include Brazil’s swings from democracy to dictatorship, tensions between cosmopolitanism and rurality, and shifting attitudes toward race and gender. Sadlier also provides critical perspectives on aesthetics and media technology, exploring how documentaries inspired dramatic depictions of poverty and migration in the country’s Northeast and examining Brazilians’ participation in streaming platforms that have suddenly democratized filmmaking.

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