Négritude

The Brazil section of the exhibition Négritude is created around a program of documentary films and videos. Films are able to capture the face of reality as it is being lived, and Afro-Brazilian expressions of Négritude are “alive.” Négritude exists in the rhythms of samba, the drums of worshippers of Mina and in revolutionary calls of funk in Rio’ slum. It swirls around in possession and in the minds of geographer Milton Santos. Négritude is also alive in the traditions followed by many Brazilians, some of which have already disappeared in its birthplace: Africa. The Brazil section of the Négritude exhibition will explore the country’s identity from the point of view of peoples who live in the light of the past, not its shadow.

MAY 22
ATLÂNTICO NEGRO: Na Rota dos Orixás

(Black Atlantic: On the Orixás Route)(Renato Barbieri, 1998, 54:00 minutes)

Atlantico Negro examines the African roots of Brazilian culture starting with the oldest Afro-Brazilian religious traditions: Candomblé, from Bahia, and Tambor de Mina, from Maranhão. This documentary is a testimony to some of the ironies of the Diaspora.EGUNGUN (Carlos Brajsblat, 1985, 60:00 minutes) This documentary takes a creative and careful look at the religion of the Nago people, Native Americans of mixed African descent whose ancestors came from Nigeria and Dahomey and who live on islands off the coast of northeastern Brazil. The Egun are their departed ancestors who can intervene on behalf of the Nago and, according to the testimony of young men just initiated into the religion, bring them a measure of tranquility and a sense of belonging. Rituals involve chanting, dancing, and animal sacrifice, yet the philosophy of the Egun belief system is also subtle and sophisticated. Development projects currently threaten the culture and territories of the Nago as tourists and money start to invade their islands, and within the community itself there is some dissension about what to do when their aged chieftain dies.

May 29**
ODÔ YÁ! LIFE WITH AIDS

(Tânia Cypriano, 1997, 58:00 minutes)

An affirming story of how Candomblé, a Brazilian religion of African origin, has become a source of strength and power in the fight against AIDS in Brazil. Members of the community have pioneered Odô Yá!, an innovative HIV/AIDS education program. Shot in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Bahia, the film shows the rituals of Candomblé and the celebration of Carnival. This lyrical documentary puts the epidemic in a cultural context, showing how a religion helps its followers cope with the illness, contrasting it with myopic government campaigns.

SAÚDE E FÉ
(Health and Faith) (Tânia Cypriano, 2003, 14:00 minute excerpt)

A follow up to Odô Yá! Life with AIDS, Health and Faith is a feature documentary that explores religious views and health practices from traditional healers of various Afro-Brazilian religions such as Vodun, Tambor de Mina and Candomblé. Part of a large health program, Health and Faith was produced to encourage doctors and traditional Afro-Brazilian religious healers to work together and share their knowledge for the benefit of a community that uses both systems of healthcare. This excerpt has English subtitles, and reveals ceremonies and practices rarely seen on film.

**Director will be present for a brief talk and discussion on Brazil’s Négritude.

June 5
CIDADE DAS MULHERES

(City of Women) (Lazaro Faria, 2002, 72:00 minutes)

A joyous look at Candomblé, the syncretic, African-derived religion that has become integral to Brazilian culture and colloquialisms. Mae Stella, a high priestess of one of the oldest houses of worship, explains from a feminine perspective the history of Candomblé in Bahia and the matriarchal system of power created and controlled by the women who practice these traditions. This vibrant documentary also pays tribute to Ruth Landes, the North American anthropologist who came to Bahia in the late 1930s to perform research and who was surprised by the spiritual, cultural and economic power held by women in Candomblé.

June 12
ABOLIÇÃO

(Abolition) (Sozimo Bulbul, 1988, 150:00 minutes)

Abolição is a startling look at the racial situation of Black Brazilians in contemporary Brazil. Black Brazilians from diverse walks of life – musicians, politicians, activists, people in government, ambassadors, social workers, sport stars, actors, street kids, farmers, etc. – answer the following question, posed by the director: What does the abolition of slavery in Brazil mean to you? Divided in sections addressing political, economic, social and cultural issues, Aboliçao contributed to a new analysis of the Black experience in Brazil.

June 19
ORI

(Raquel Gerber, 1989, 90:00 minutes)

This documentary provides an overview of the Black Movement in Brazil during the 1970s and 1980s and tells the story of Beatriz Nascimento, an activist and historian searching for her African heritage. Beatriz researches the history of the Quilombos, African warrior societies reestablished in Brazil as a reaction against slavery and colonialism. Ori acknowledges and celebrates the contributions of African culture to South American music, dance, language and beliefs.

June 26
QUILOMBO, DO CAMPO GRANDE AOS MARTINS

(Flavio Frederico, 2007, 49:00 minutes)

Brazilian historians estimate that in the colonial times, in Minas Gerais State alone, there existed more than 100 Quilombos, settlements of runaway African slaves brought to Brazil. This film depicts the daily life of Dona Luzia in the district of Quilombo, located in the Mantiqueira Mountain Range, and recovers part of the Brazilian slave history, which was largely written out of the country’s official history.

*CIDADE DAS MULHERES
(City of Women) (Lazaro Faria, 2002, 72:00 minutes)

A joyous look at Candomblé, the syncretic, African-derived religion that has become integral to Brazilian culture and colloquialisms. Mae Stella, a high priestess of one of the oldest houses of worship, explains from a feminine perspective the history of Candomblé in Bahia and the matriarchal system of power created and controlled by the women who practice these traditions. This vibrant documentary also pays tribute to Ruth Landes, the North American anthropologist who came to Bahia in the late 1930s to perform research and who was surprised by the spiritual, cultural and economic power held by women in Candomblé.

*Rescheduled from June 5. The original film scheduled for this time slot, A TERRA E O TEMPO – VOZES DO QUILOMBO, will not be shown.

July 3
BIMBA, THE ENLIGHTENED CAPOEIRA

(Luiz Fernando Goulart, 2007, 78:00 minutes)

In 1899, the Master Bimba was born. Determined to change Capoeira’s criminal status to which it was condemned by the 1890 Penal Code, Bimba modernized the art, and founded the first Capoeira academy. Through accounts given by some of his old students and never-before-seen images, the documentary tells the story of this humble, illiterate Brazilian, who is today known, praised and respected in all Capoeira rings.

July 10
WILSON SIMONAL – You Don’t Know How Tough It Was

(Claudio Manoel, Micael Langer and Calvito Leal, 2007, 84:00 minutes)

This film narrates the career of the first Afro-Brazilian singer to make a splash in Brazilian show business, through interviews with the likes of Nelson Motta, Tony Tornado and Pelé.

July 17
ENCONTRO COM MILTON SANTOS

(An Encounter with Milton Santos) (Silvio Tendler, 2007, 89:00 minutes)

This film reviews the inspirational and amazing story of Milton Santos, who was raised in the poorest state of Brazil but went on to be one of the foremost thinkers on globalization. Fighting against racism and a military dictatorship, Santos wrote over forty books and held numerous teaching positions throughout the world. Filmed only months before his death, this documentary gives a quotidian portrayal of a man unafraid to criticize injustice.

July 24
L.A.P.A.

(Emilio Domingos and Cavi Borges, 2007, 75:00 minutes)

Lapa is a rundown, bohemian neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the beginning of the 20th century, it was the center of the Samba world, but in recent years it has changed into a meeting point for MCs and rappers. L.A.P.A. explores Rio’s local hip-hop culture and its development from the 1990s until now.

INSURREIÇÃO RÍTMICA
(Rhythmic Uprising) (Benjamin Watkins, 2008, 65:00 minutes)

Rhythmic Uprising is a documentary that shows how vibrant Afro-Brazilian performing arts are used to fight racism, social exclusion, and poverty in Bahia, Brazil. The film outlines the transformative powers of a large movement of community cultural projects that make up the latest chapter in a creative struggle for racial equality that began four centuries ago.