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But the documentary doesn’t want to be just a great panel of what we are according to this view from the outside. The proposal is to reveal the mechanisms that lead to the creation of this image. As a guideline, we will have the stories, motivations, and/or pressures that are behind these movies. For this, making use of the detailed research by Tunico Amâncio for his book (O Brasil dos Gringos, imagens no cinema), we will interview the main directors, producers, and/or screenwriters. Why were these movies made? What is the previous idea that this director had of Brazil?
In the material already shot, may were the surprises. Edmond Luntz’s fight against Twenty Century Fox or Gerard Lauzier’s interview are a fine example of the exercise of power in the movie industry. At the same time, the individual relationship with Brazil can be seen in the verve of vaudeville comedian Philipe Clair, who gracefully reveals “the gringo in love with Rio”, or in the Scandinavian despair in the confrontation with the nature of Brazilians, which we found in the story told by producer Bo Jolsson about the committing of a Swedish director to a psychiatric hospital.
The documentary will be the intersection of three elements. The movies researched, the stories of how these movies were made told by their authors and the quick portraits of current spectators reflecting through several languages, faces and kinds on the reproduction of clichés.
As research material, we will use not only scenes from movies we consider essential and whose rights are being acquired but also photographs, flyers, and texts. The interviews will take place especially in the three countries that have made more films and had the greatest world repercussion (France already shot England, and the United States).
The foreign eye can be defined as that which only registers what is different, what is strange, eliminating the rest. Our question is in which manner was this difference was felt, in which manner this difference was created, in which manner was this difference imposed. We are not in search of a single answer, but to come close (and surround) these eyes. We are now on the other side.
Philipe de Brocca: director of L’homme à Rio (1962), one of the largest successes of the sixties, with more than five million of spectators only in France. Jean Paul Belmondo and Françoise D’Orleac in their best style in a film full of clichés for all the family, with the French charm. Philippe's Interview reveals the purest “colonial love” for Rio de Janeiro of the 60, but also the comprehension of the clichés (He made an excellent comparison saying that he knows that Brazilians should react to his film as he reacts to the American filming in Paris. And he shows how he was upset with Jack Lennon playing a flic ). He did not hide his prejudices, saying, for example, that he is incapable to imagine a film with a Brazilian working. The interview wastes nostalgia and avowals of love for a Rio of fantasy. Two years ago he made anew film in South America, a new adventure in Amazônia (Venezuelan Side) also with Belmondo, who was a great failure.
Edmond Luntz: An incredible history, very similar to the Orson Welles’ story in Brasil. He shoot in Rio and in some other state of Brazil a film called “La grabuje” in 1968, produced by 20th Century Fox. Some years before, Luntz made a great success in Cannes with a film about marginal boys. Than, he received an invitation of the 20* Century Fox to do a feature film, what was going to be shoot in Canarias Island. In the last moment, because Fox had money frozen in Brazil, the film was transferred to Rio. The peripetia of the accomplishment of this film in full effervescence of 68 also is the fight of a French, with a very strong side as documentarist, for “author's right”.(Le droit d’auteur). The film, that he made in prision and also in some poor placesof Brasil, was edited in the mood of the sixties, including scenes of the student movement. The American producer forbidden the director’s cut and made another edition, what was not accepted by Luntz. After years of fight in Justice,, Luntz won the right of have his version of the film, considered “anti-stablisment” in the USA. The answer was the destruction of the film, that was never distributed. Good history about as it works the so called hegemonic movies (or hegemonic producers) when they are contested. We will show the interview with the photos of the film, unique material that survived. An interview with a director gobbled by the system.
Gerard Lauzier: Director of two films that talk about Brazil: “T’empeche tout le s monde de dormir ” , of 1982, and “The son of the French”, of 2000. Well-known author of “band dessinés” a myth in France lived in Brazil eight years when young and after this experience he made this two films. Immense contrast among films , full of clichés, and his own experience in the country. Asked about this contradiction, gives an excellent interview on the power of the industry, what the public wants to see from Brazil. Also what can be sold about Brasil: the poor, the rural and the exotic.
Philipe Clair: Author and director of “Si tu vas à Rio, tu meurs”, film that discovered Roberta Close, launching her internationally. Comedian of the old school of vaudeville, Philipe Clair gives an extremely funny interview about his Brazilian experience. A clichés show of the typical citizen of average class: woman and backsides do the country.
Barbro Karabuda: Swedish Director. She made in 1974 a feature film based on real facts called “The Embassy”. With script of the brazilian writer Fernando Gabeira, than exiled in Sweden, the film is about the day life in the Argentine Embassy , during the 3 months after Pinochet’s coup d’etat, when more than a hundred latin American political persecuted was refugee . It brings another Brasil’s vision, but also mythical : of the Brazilian guerrilla fighter. In the interview, the history of this Scandinavia's relation with Brazil and the Swedish point of view during the times of dictatorship in Latin America.
Bo Jonsson: producer of two films shoot in Brazil. The first, in 1967, with Max von Sidow and Bibi Andersson, directed by Homes-Magnus Lundgren, who some years before won the Oscar for foreign film. The shooting is describe by the producer as “an odyssey” showing what “Brazil (and the tropical) can do to a Swede. The director finished crazy at a mental hospital. Excellent history of the “tropics conflict first world”. The second film produced by Bo Jonsson in Brasil exemplifies the typical English cliché: two Swedish finish the film running away to Brazil to spend a fortune. In the interview, he describes the story that exemplify that conflict.
Philipe Haas: director of “Angel and insect “, that were in the official selection of Cannes Festival. Important work about sexual repression on the Victorian times against the natural and savage world. He opens the film with images of Indians from Amazonia. (They were really dancers from England) . He defends in the interview the Indians as angels and does not accept that there were a “white” sexual fantasy in the form the Indians are presented. Interesting how a very sophisticated man get in touch with the ethnocentrism, .
Zalman King: Director of “Wild Orchid” (1990), film with erotic connotations, with Mickey Rourke . The film create an imaginary Rio, putting together Rio with Bahia, and contains an enormous quantity of clichés, such as wild sensuality, candomblé and sex, samba and carnival. In the interview, Zalman King says that his Brazil's image was influenced by the film “Orfeu Negro” and that he wanted an exotic place that people related immediately with the sensuality. He talks about religion and sensuality. He apology for have offended the Brazilian public
Larry Gelbart: The screenwriter of “Blame it on Rio” (1984), which in a more affective way also brings the same clichés than “Wild Orchid”. Larry Gelbart is a very known screenwriter, that wrote between others “Tootsie” and “M.A.S.H.”. With humor and intelligence, he talks about the importance of the clichés for the comedies and how movies creates and perpetuates the clichés. He comments the mistakes of the film, as the top -less and the Brazilian marriage. He compares the film with an American pie with Brazilian flavor. He says that Carmem Miranda is also responsible for the idea American has from Brazil.
Charlie Peters: Co- screenwriter of “Blame it on Rio”, directed by Stalen Donen, with Michael Caine and Demi Moore. The film, a comedy using all the clichés about Brazil. In the interview, he accepts the clichés as part of the commercial world.
Michael Caine: The protagonist of “Blame it on Rio” ( 1984). Michael Caine talks, with humor, of the beauty of the Brazilian people as reason for some clichés . Pressured, he changes the tone and talks about the social differences in Brazil. Asked about the influence of Carmem Miranda, tells that he did not know that she was Brazilian.
Jon Voight: Acted in two films of our list : “The Champ” (1976) of Franco Zeffirelli and “Anaconda” (1997) of Luis Llosa.
The first brings a small citation to Brazil, regarding the “paradise” .The second was shoot in Amazônia, one of the most adventure successful films ever made in the region.
In the interview, he criticizes the form Hollywood treats the foreign countries, but at the same time defends the American industry and the great corporations.
He also considers that the “politically incorrect vision” of the American films of last decades about Amazônia were caused by technical impossibility to film in the forest. He thinks that now things are changing thanks to the new technologies.
David Weisman: Producer of “The kiss of Spider Woman” of Hector Babenco. He was in Brazil several times and had a very strong relation with the country. As our documentary is only working with foreign films related to Brazil, we did not make the interview about Babenco’s film. Our interest was his experience as producer of “The Samba film”, which would be directed by Bob Refelson and would have Sônia Braga and Jack Nicholson in the main papers. This film was never done. But his histories about the producers' encounter with Joãozinho Trinta, one of the most important character of Brazilian carnival; the research made by the screenwriter using binoculars through the window of the hotel; and the theory of the director on one Black universal greeting are funny and full of irony. They reveal the problems of the “ foreign eye” when people want to go beyond the “clichés”.
Greydon Clark: Director of “Lambada, the Prohibited Dance”. The film mixed the dance lambada, which had just “exploded” in Europe, with amazon forest, creating an “India princess”. The director talks how he created this history filmed in Florida. He talks also about the power of the industry and the need of entertainment of the North American public. Lambada was, according to him, a highly lucrative film.
Robert Ellis Miller: Director of “Brenda Star” (1988), with Brook Shield and also filmed in Florida. The film works with a character of the H. O that come to life and goes to Amazônia. In his interview, he defends the clichés in second plan , as necessary to locate the history for the public. Tells that Carmem Miranda today would be a cartoon. He defends the need of Brazilian people speaks Spanish in the film because “the most part of Latin America speaks Spanish and the studio decides upon the public”.
Tony Plana: A Latino actor (North American born in Cuba) . He played with Raul Julia, the film “ Amazônia em Chamas ( Burning Season - 1994), about the life of Chico Mendes. The film, shoot in Mexico, is talked in English and with American actors of Latin type. The actor describes how the American market ignores the diversity of the Latin culture, preferring to create a Latin standard. For him, about the matter of language, the important in the film talked in English is to keep an accent of the original country when using personal or cities names.
Hope Davis: Actress of “Next Stop, Wonderland” (1999), directed by Brad Anderson. The film shows a Brazilian character who talks with Spanish accent. He comments also about beaches in São Paulo, the greatest brazilian industrial city. Hope Davis, in her interview, says that she ignore everything about Brazil and associates it to the main clichés. She talks critically about the “ latin lover” character, also introduced in the film.
Bernard Corneloup: Curator of the Festival Ibero-Aamericano de Lyon . Very good interview showing how the distributors choose the kind of brazilian films that can be showed and his influences even in the festivals. He speaks also about the clichés that the French public wants to see in the screen.
Alain Liotard: director of the Festival Ibero-Americano de Lyon and director of the cinemateca of Lyon. Also about the clichés the French public wants to see.
Jacki Bruet: director of the International Festival of Women of Creteil. Very goos interview about the question of sensuality, how latins are showed and how even the European feminism has prejudices against the so called brazilian sensuality.
The answers are the obvious (samba carnival, etc...) and some strange and/or aggressive, like infantile prostitution and cosmetic surgery. The situation is extremely interesting and even fun by the repetition of the cliché.