the age of the earth

Eduardo Paolozzi, Mentalization of a dream, 1964.


Considerations on Glauber Rocha's film

Brazilian theater and literature have a strong tradition of texts aimed at representing the decadence, in the economic or moral sense, of certain rural oligarchies under the general effect of the country's modernization in its different stages. There is, for example, the chronicle of the decline of a lifestyle linked to the sugar industry in the Northeast, a theme that made an author like José Lins do Rego famous; and there is the chronicle of the precocious dissolution of the aristocratic aspirations of the coffee barons, satirically focused on the modernism of Oswald de Andrade.

In another tone, in Jorge Andrade's theater, the upper class of the coffee economy is the target of an anatomy more of a sociological type and, at the same time, Abílio Pereira de Almeida, a playwright who worked at Vera Cruz as a screenwriter and actor, brought for the cinema the question of the decadence of the families that own farms in certain regions of the interior of São Paulo – see especially earth is always earth (1952), directed by Tom Payne with a screenplay by Abílio[I]. In addition to the culture of the Northeast and the coffee complex of the Southeast, the cocoa zone, in the south of Bahia, and the interior of Minas Gerais also produced material for this fiction focused on the chronicle of decadence.

Jorge Amado addressed the world of cocoa in several books, of which endless lands has a clear impact on The gods and the dead, directed by Ruy Guerra in 1970.[ii] Stagnant regions in the interior of Minas Gerais gained a representation between the tragic and the melodramatic in dealing with family decay in Lúcio Cardoso's novel, The Chronicle of the Murdered House, adapted by Paulo Cesar Saraceni in the film the murdered house (1971)

The cited examples suggest the filmmakers' interest in this recurrent tendency of literary fiction and, observing the filmography, it can be said that the dialogue with literature and theater, under the sign of the representation of decadence, had its moment of greater density between the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1980s. Modern Brazilian cinema presents many examples of this interest in this type of family or social experience and, alongside the titles mentioned above, it is worth remembering the entire series of films based on Nelson Rodrigues between 1972 and 1980, in addition to the presence of the theme of decadence in works not exactly supported by literary adaptation, such as The inheritors (1969), by Carlos Diegues, The guilt (1971), by Domingos de Oliveira, Mortal sin (1970), by Miguel Faria Junior, and Chronicle of an industrialist (1976), by Luiz Rosemberg, among other films that mark the incidence of theatrical tradition in the elaboration of its fictional universes and in its forms of staging.

When I say “moment of greater density”, I consider the fact that the relationship between cinema and the theme of family or regional decay, significantly present in Vera Cruz, is installed, in fact, from the period of silent cinema. There were already clear signs of melancholy for what is about to dissolve in the way Humberto Mauro, already in the 20s, treated the world of farms, especially in mining blood (1929), and this Maurian melancholy also affected the films he made during the Estado Novo period, in order to imprint a tinge of archaic nostalgia in works that responded to a demand from Power interested in more positive representations of the nation and of their progressive hopes.[iii]

Alongside this, Cinema Novo itself, still in the mid-1960s, paid relative attention to this world in dissolution, adapting José Lins – ingenuity boy (1965), by Walter Lima Junior – and creating a narrative with a twilight atmosphere to translate Drummond’s poem into the film The priest and the girl (1966), by Joaquim Pedro. However, the tone of that period were films more focused on the dramatization of social problems, inventory of the conditions of the oppressed and their resistance in Brazilian history, not having much space for the composition of rituals in a “closed laboratory”, with a clear inclination to dissolution processes, which we began to see from the end of the decade.

Yes, because it was in the period that began after AI-5, on December 13, 1968, that Brazilian cinema made such questions more frequent on screens, in order to transform the theme of decadence into a striking feature of production, when Cinema Novo and Cinema Marginal shared a pessimistic diagnosis of the nation, observing aspects of the Brazilian experience capable of showing processes of loss, deterioration, death.[iv]

Whether in the observation of traditional families, or in the observation of the invasion of Brazilian nature – in particular the Amazon – or in defining the destinations of poor migrants who head to the city to face degradation or annihilation, Brazilian cinema has dealt with this feeling transition to the worst experienced by a character or a class, composing a framework within which the allegorical dimension of the age of the earth (1980) gains greater expression.

On the one hand, unlike the films that preceded it, this one does not dwell on localized decay, referring to very precise social experiences. In his tonic, Glauber Rocha totalizes, and his representation of the elites seeks a certain generality, national and global, proper to his allegorism. In this way, he amplifies what has already been announced in the figure of Fuentes in earth in trance, on the axis of morality, and is part of the tradition, present in literature and cinema, which associates class decay with the deterioration of customs, hedonistic exacerbation, addictions fueled by luxury, the weakening of the new generations catalyzed by the vile character of authority figures. I remember this particularity because the representations of processes of decay do not always require paths of moral dissolution, and films can design a national space marked by paths of dissolution of practices and cultural traits, whether in the sphere of a class, a region or a “characteristic type”, without returning to such clichés.

This is what happens, for example, in films made in 1980, practically contemporary with the age of the earthas bye bye Brazil, by Carlos Diegues, and America's Giant, by Julio Bressane. Each in its own style, these two films engage in a dialogue with Glauber's film because they put Brazil as a whole on the agenda, they make itineraries aimed at a general diagnosis, in a different tone, but with the same inventorying posture. more conventional narrative bye bye Brazil defines an itinerancy through the national territory able to bring us images and varied dramas of a Brazil on the verge of extinction.

experimental film, America's Giant does not compose his inventory by traversing a geography, but travels through the imaginary of Brazilian culture, notably of a cinema that accumulated ruined stages of a crossing that, in the film, gains anchorage in the figure of the hero-malandro, protagonist of episodes that do not come to an end , the subject of a repeated restart that ends with a melancholic retirement by the beach.

Carlos Diegues' film retraces the path from the Amazon to Brasília to witness the dissolution of a rural Brazil hit by economic transformations and electronic media, following the Rolidei caravan that brings together the mentalities of two generations of traveling artists who, although more closely linked to the country from the circus, the modest cinema of the small town and the pre-TV imaginary, end up demonstrating availability for the syncretisms of post-modern cultural life. This does not exactly appear as a sea of ​​corruption and moral dissolution, and the passage from what is obsolete to what already has one foot in the future is presented as a fact to be verified without further speculation.

The economic and professional decay of modest and poor groups that depend on practices condemned by modernization works as a metaphor for Brazilian cinema itself, its vicissitudes and repeated crises. However, with the exception of the pathetic image of the group most annihilated by the order of things – the indigenous people who appear motionless and defeated in front of things – the indigenous people who appear motionless and defeated in front of the cameras – everything else is tempered with a touch of good humor, and the melancholy shared between the filmmaker and the unemployed, unfolds in a farewell to the condemned national projects that takes care to avoid the resigned tone and invites a pragmatism without resentment and turned to the future.

The inventory of national ephemera carried out in America's Giant involves the idea of ​​incursion into something equivalent to a penetrable by Oiticica, whose interior reveals a memory of cinema scenarios and their truncated experiences, their unfulfilled promises that Bressane inserts into a reflection on culture that resumes its experimentalism, accentuating the traits most characteristic of a trajectory that, in this particular, marks a decisive convergence with the age of the earth: there is in both the discontinuous montage composing a mosaic of situations worked as independent blocks, with fragile narrative concatenation, in order to emphasize the melee between camera and world, movements of the gaze aimed at an uninterrupted exploration of the texture of things, whether bodies, objects or the light itself.[v]

America's Giant updates, in fragments, varied paths of cinema, from the gigantism of kitsch overproduction, to Griffith or Cecil B. de Mille, to the “minor art” profile of Brazilian chanchada, imaginary worlds that were guided by unexpected intersections – like the film by Bressane, with its mixture of exoticism, cinema history and evocations of the greatest poetry (Dante), a descent into hell that ends in a variety show. At the center of a possible narrative, or a journey around the imaginary, the melancholy-malandro hero crosses Rio and Rio de Janeiro scenarios that can so much incorporate the anguish he evokes. Limit, with its characteristic style, as for the burlesque word of erotic comedy. Such a hero is incarnated in Jece Valadão, a figure-symbol of the intersections of Brazilian cinema: the favelado de 40 degree river, the cafajeste, the Golden Mouth, the macho of the erotic film and the Amerindian Christ of the age of the earth.

Such inventories that thematize, with a mixture of irony and melancholy, the lost cinema and the dismantled country, explore terrains that show corrosive signs of history, the presence of time as erosion, given that Glauber's film repositions with emphasis, but changing the point of view. For his reaction to a context in which stories centered on transitions for the worse accumulate is to try to recover a utopian impulse that had fueled his films in the early 1960s. new boiling intensity, emerging force destined to expel and take the place of what decays. His look at decadence focuses on the desired fall of Ouro and there is nothing to regret in the deaths that the film announces.

For this very reason, his greatest energy is directed to the task of making visible promises that, to a skeptical eye, would be nothing more than hypotheses. the age of the earth, in this sense, condemns to death the world elite that it hates, bringing as an antidote an inventory of popular manifestations that make up the space of dignity and vitality. In his totalizing impulse, he needs this opposition, in order to associate the negative side of the present to something that seems to be in agony, even if that agony is only visible from the angle of morality and the clichés that stick the idea of ​​decay in bodies. and allow us to take the axis of sensuality as the dividing line between two well-defined aesthetic terrains: the sublime (popular) and the grotesque (bourgeoisie).

This operation, already outlined in The dragon of evil against the holy warrior, permeates the films made by Glauber abroad, from the grotesque features of the colonizers in The Seven Headed Lion (1970) to the ritual of parricide and family corrosion of the Roman elite in Clear (1975), passing through the muddy decay of Diaz in exile, in severed heads (1970). The 1970s were composing a picture of the deterioration of the elites and an exacerbation of the filmmaker's taste for large strokes that ended up receiving articulations very different from those evidenced in the films made in Brazil in the 1960s.

My observations about the age of the earth aim to help understand this facet of the “great theater”, cosmic and baroque, that Glauber put together in his last act, partly as a result of an internal logic of his work, partly as a response to demands brought about by his position in the face of the Brazilian political scenario, since his distrust of liberal and civilist solutions did not favor involvement with issues of redemocratization, amnesty and class mobilizations that were then decisive in directing the immediate future of national politics.

Reiterating what was a trend in his allegories, Glauber preferred to look at signs of long-term hope, and his way of relating to history, while world history required the mediation of great theoretical matrices. His critique of the powerful of the present ended up being guided by the category of decadence understood within a very special logic, one that at the same time offered him a way out, distancing him from the style of observation assumed by other filmmakers whose representation of well-localized experiences did not imply in posing such universal questions about the destiny of humanity.

According to Julien Freund, the notion of decadence applies, in its general form, to any and all social or cultural formation that proves to be incapable of restoring the conditions of its existence, its assumptions in terms of values. In order to build a concept of decadence, it is necessary to take as a premise the idea of ​​a movement present in society and to take the opposition progress-decadence as an antithetical pair that involves interdependent nations, with the difference that “progress” refers to to the upward pole of change, while “decadence” refers to that fraction of society that becomes incapable of restoring the premises of its existence and is pushed to the periphery, losing its position, power, privileges.[vi]

Jacques Le Goff reminds us how committed the notion is, in its formation (more Christian than Greek-Latin), with the idea of ​​moral corruption, sin and subsequent punishment, in terms of the analogy with the first fall of humanity. Even before the stabilization of the term “decadence” in the Christian era, the Greeks, although they did not have an equivalent term, exposed their observations on processes of dissolution and decline in the same key of the corruption of customs, vices engendered by luxury, traces of an unbridled hedonism that discipline would relax. Finally, the traits that would later be seen as responsible for the internal corrosion of the Roman Empire. This is a constellation of ideas that, for better or for worse, tended to remain in history, even when other aspects of the phenomenon of decadence became equally relevant, such as the fall of regimes (of a political nature) or class decay, correlated to the breakdown of economic systems.

In the fictional tradition that interests me here, the trend was not towards an unconditional alignment with the ideas of progress and modernization, associated with the critical view of those who, in principle, resist the imperative of change and are incapable of “adapting” to new times. which undermine their principles and plunge them into a sneer-observed downfall. The scheme was more subtle and involved, since Oswald de Andrade, a more nuanced view of technical-economic progress. If this is taken as a major axis because effectively its vocation is consolidation and expansion, by force of the capitalist order, this did not prevent the authors from observing such imperative in its ambivalence-crystallized in the process of “constructive destruction” and in its commitment to the uncontrolled and predatory invasions.

In this way, literature and cinema have not tended to compose the image of social sectors and cultural traits that succumb to change only from an idea of ​​their iniquity or lack of value, but also from the, shall we say, regrettable side of their defeat due to a difference or a virtue contained therein. Such is the case of the elegies for worlds in extinction, whose noblest version has been the repeated incorporation of indigenous cultures as emblems of an identity condemned by the expansion of capital. movies like Brazil year 2000 (Walter Lima Jr, 1969), Uira (Gustavo Dahl, 1974), Ajuricaba (Oswaldo Caldeira, 1977), Kill them? (Sergio Bianchi, 1983) and Wild capitalism (André Klotzel, 1993) are examples, varied in style and purposes, of this aspect of production that takes progress as violence and works on the tearing apart of the indigenous in the midst of a world that destroys their references.

At another pole, there is the representation of the agony of sectors of the white elite, the children of the colonizers, centered in regions that have already experienced better times within economic cycles, but suffered a deterioration generated by isolation, by stagnation that transformed rural families into distant autarchies from the dynamic poles of social life, autarchy quite vulnerable to the attack of the modern pole, generally figured as an invasion that puts the corrosive agent inside the House – usually a woman from the city – whose presence precipitates a dissolution already in progress.

In this case, we can have a representation that oscillates between praise and criticism of the devitalized archaic world, and the fiction writer makes a detailed balance of his conditions, his forms of resistance. Its objective is to accentuate the dramas, observe the fall “from within”, attentive to the particular feature of a “lifestyle” that bears witness to broader social phenomena and allows projections to a universal scale through allegorical strategies. The Chronicle of the Murdered House, by Lúcio Cardoso, is an example of such a type of representation that accentuates fatalities, exacerbations of feelings, extreme gestures of resentful figures and already turned to the more destructive side of passions, a group that closes itself in the laboratory and observes the external world with hostility in such a way as to contribute for everything to unfold in domestic disasters without greater external resonance.

Then the fall is drawn from a point of view that does not adhere to the party of progress and that, therefore, cannot assume the experience of the defeated as a comedy, nor celebrate the invasion of the new as a path of salvation, paying more attention to the lifestyle elaborated in the midst of decadence, almost always aimed at a form of aestheticization of the inevitable.[vii] Translating the novel, Saraceni's film had an enormous challenge in adapting a bold narrative, complex in its look at the family crisis, a narrative whose effect is anchored in the strength of the writer's style when designing the melodramas from the movements of the subjectivities involved, major point of interest in the anatomy of the process.

The search for an internal look directed at decadence is exercised in other films of the period, within other tonalities, whether in St. Bernard (Leon Hirszman, 1972), whether in Joan the French (Carlos Diegues, 1973), in addition to the works mentioned above. Such a movement, confirming that tendency to accentuate the corruption of customs, the crisis of the family, the immersion in incestuous transgressions and transgressions, put Brazilian cinema on the path of decomposition processes that it sought to represent from domestic life and, in cases of exacerbation of the grotesque, from what was made visible in the bodies, with the exception of Leon Hirszman whose translation by Graciliano Ramos implied directing the gaze towards an ascetic world, alien to hedonism and the enjoyment of luxury typical of the contexts of decline.

In general, the political motivation of cinema's plunge into decomposition favored a type of fictional laboratory where sex and violence tended to converge as figures of class domination and gave rise to deliberately aggressive spectacles. Sometimes, the objective of such spectacles – as in The Chronicle of an Industrialist (1978), by Luiz Rosemberg Filho – was the anatomy of the failure of a bourgeoisie that, even when apparently progressive and industrial, became entangled in stratagems that betrayed principles but guaranteed the power and command of a system mounted on top of violence and sacrifice of young people in a military dictatorship, violence that Rosemberg worked on as part of a “theater of cruelty” that, in turn, dialogued with the aggressive posture of Teatro Oficina in the setting up of rituals that became more dramatic and uncomfortable after the more satirical phase in the king of the candle (1967) and Highway (1968)

The allegorical response to the dark times generated aggressiveness and, at times, sarcasm directed at the elites or the middle classes, in a broad attack against family politics. In a more satirical tone than Rosemberg's serious-dramatic, much of what we see in cinema recalls, in some cases by direct filiation, that attitude that Oficina started with the staging of the king of the candle, especially in the performance of the second act. Of course, the starting point is Oswald de Andrade's text and posture, which have waited since the 1930s to find translation on stage, but it is worth noting how much the iconography and gestures activated in the setting up of this act of the play figure as a matrix for many elite representations found in cinema, where class comedy was made by exploring the grotesque side of a gallery of sexual perversions – the eccentric types of the family of Heloysa of Lesbos – taken as a symptom of the crisis.

Ridiculous bodies, and gestures no less, are projected in a revue theater that represents the dissolution of the assumptions of the patriarchal world within the tradition I alluded to – that of attack from the moral flank. It is as if the abstract character and the “invisibility” of the economic crisis itself requested this peculiar illumination of the domestic sphere of the powerful, either to highlight obsessions, corrupt practices, amorous disorder, or to take the open cynicism, debauchery and self-depreciation as visible traces of a class's lack of awareness of its blindness to the gap between its aspirations and its performance.

Since the staging of the king of the candle, the tonic of “spinafraction” gained strength in cinema, where sexuality became the object of a “clinical” look that subverts decorum and adjusts to the aesthetic project of a young culture willing to take revenge on the classes blamed by the authoritarian regime, either through Nelson Rodrigues' adaptations, or in radicalizations of the pathology of the family group, as in Babaloo's Monsters (1970), by Eliseu Visconti.

This is a way of looking at the dominant classes that we see resumed in the age of the earth, but condensed and as if put in suspension, since Glauber had to expose, for the purpose of his philosophy of history, the opposite-correlate, that is, the world of ascension and vitality capable of suggesting some good news in a historical conjuncture that effectively suffocated. And this opposition between degeneration (from above) and regeneration (from below) inscribed the contemporary experience in a large plan, ending up by restoring, to the letter, the major paradigm of the very formulation of the idea of ​​decadence within the historiographical tradition: the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Christianity as a popular religion on the periphery of the world order. The iconography of the corrosion of power finds, with Glauber, its original formulation and its religious basis.

The panel of Brazilian life – popular festivals where the syncretisms and ethnicities that shape life in the country parade – is part of the great theater in which allegorical figures replay episodes from the life of Christ – here a multiplied Christ, white, black, Indian – and episodes of Roman political life, in an allusion to the great transition in the history of the West. Considering the energy of the parties, Glauber's comments and the portrait of decadence, the suggestion remains that one can look at the crisis of the modern world along the lines of the ancient crisis, making an analogy between the two times on the basis of a paradigm that articulates the moral crisis of power to the expansion of a religious movement from the periphery of the system. There is not exactly a narrative to compose such a scenario, but a set of sparse episodes makes clear the similarity, including visual and discursive, between the figures who are at the center of the theater of the age of the earth and famous figures of antiquity.

Brahms' trip to Brazil – axis of the narrative residue – is the occasion for him to exhibit the family decadence, the neurotic sex, the cynical demagoguery, and the personal sadness of a Nero behind his hedonism and his fake blond hair , as artificial as everything else around the woman who accompanies him, a kind of courtesan attracted by power. Brahms is caricatured, predatory, a real cancer expanding across the territory. His son, supposedly rebellious, parades a grotesque figure of punk-indigenous, important in the face of power games and humiliations coming from the sadistic theater of the mocking stepmother. Ironically, Geraldo del Rey, Manuel de God and the devil, plays the role, and his age mismatch confirms the absence of promises surrounding his figure. It does not seem to give consistency even to the task delegation expressed in his last statement, at the end of the film: “the people take their place”.

In the wake of other young people in Brazilian cinema, he is incapable of an effective relationship with his father's mistress, composing a pathetic character who crystallizes, once again, the symptom of decadence. His moments of “conquest of the word” are a mockery of liberation, as in the gallery of new generation types that theater and cinema threw into an impasse, in the apathy fueled by the mixture of resentment and inability to revolt or to overcome the father figure. There is something about him that is equivalent to what we see in Arnaldo Jabor's young people in the 1970s, or in films like The inheritors, where the scheme by which the youngest, endowed with pretense of modernity, fails in his movement of affirmation and, many times, shows himself to be a hothouse flower without the necessary fiber for the confrontations demanded by his ambition.

The moral anatomy of decadence and Glauber's biblical inspirations mark his treatment of unruly sexuality from earth in trance, where the orgies commanded by Fuentes form a way of disqualifying the bourgeoisie even before its betrayal of the national-popular movement. In The dragon of evil against the holy warrior, he observes that the problem of decadence has already reached the colonels of the sertão, whose arrival is surrounded by an amorous disorder that places the figure of fatal woman coming from the city. Corrosion processes are identified with the mockery of modernization, which is also the precocious decay of the universe that the filmmaker observes.

There, the conflict between the sublime and the grotesque is pointed out, which is amplified until we reach the age of the earth, terrain of a total war of life against death defining the destinies of humanity. The disqualification of power in the morality axis reaches, in 1980, the adequate point for the incorporation of the iconography of the Empire's decadence. This is embodied in a theater that resembles what we see in Othon (1969), by Jean-Marie Straub, when he stages Corneille's tragedy in the heart of modern Rome, contrasting the costumes of Ancient Rome with the hustle and bustle of the modern city, suggesting the connection between one thing and the other, but leaving the question mark by the political statement implied in the rigorous mise-en-scène and in this overlapping of historical times.

The difference, in Glauber, is that the allegorical framework becomes clearer, in order to make the axis of the analogy explicit. And the national present gains a diagnosis capable of inserting it into a profile of world history, but in such a way that it ends up paying the price of an excessive generality. There is undoubtedly some specification in the figure of the white man with good manners as part of the Glauberian collection of hesitant politicians, potential traitors; here, such a figure exposes his fears in the face of a “cosmic shock” that he takes seriously, perhaps because he is closer to the ethos collective religion and, unlike the imperialist, cannot look around with an air of derision.

This local reference, however, is just a mediation for the paradigm of Christ to be outlined in a horizon of multinational salvation in the face of issues that have a planetary scale. As in a medieval theater, Brahms presents himself to the public as the incarnation of the devil, proclaiming his mission to destroy the planet, in an image in which the terrestrial globe and a TV set stand out. He is the Anti-Christ who dispenses with the specification of political plots, social movements, class struggles; figure that, due to the erosion of the paradigm, ends up atrophying what, in the age of the earth, is a lucid observation of the contemporary as a space for the dissolution of borders and the emergence of new foci of political alignment. Although there is a national territory as the scenario of the film's pilgrimage, this does not seem to contain the essential data of the game.

I said “it ends up atrophying” due to the unevenness generated by the analogy, starting with the treatment of the figures that make up the theater of power. On the one hand, the personification of the local elite is depicted, interpreted by Tarcísio Meira as a spokesman for a notion of the national already established by the tradition that it represents, given that it does not bring him problems when composing the conglomerate that inhabits the territory as a “community”. imagined” (a notion coined by Benedict Anderson to think about the status of the nation in modern history).[viii] On the other hand, in opposition to the nation of “Tarcísio”, the film's suggestion prevails that an “imagined community” is something to build and the promise of such construction lies in the sphere of the popular. The atrophy of the scheme begins when the evangelical analogy and the Christian paradigm associate the idea of ​​a future community with the replacement of a principle of unity conceptualized exclusively from a form of cohesion, curiously pre and not post-national generated from this struggle against the Anti -Christ.

An essentially religious tone is projected over everything, since the principle of union that is glimpsed from the visible constellation of experiences is no different. In this ambiguity, between the national frame and the planetary religion, the film manages to specify its ironies in a more interesting way when it deals with the figure of “Tarcísio” who, although less present in the film, earns greater income in his interventions than Brahms, the representative of the Empire and the incarnation of evil.

The route of the American grotesque in Brazil involves some scenes in Brasília, with wandering through symbolic places, and in Rio de Janeiro, when his imperial figure is seen in the parade of the Schools, in Maracanã, in Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, on the steps of the National Library, where “Tarcísio” passes by him and shouts “don't go to the Senate” in allusion to Caesar's death in Roman times which, in fact, he embodies in his most decadent face, object and at the same time active subject of a blatant mockery. “Tarcísio” calls for a more subtle irony, as his figure contains tensions that do not escape the critical eye that the film directs.

While Brahms' tackiness shows, from the outset, his alterity of gestures vis-à-vis carnival and the popular festival (he is not a carnivalesque, although he is, in the form of representation, carnivalized), “Tarcísio” has a more ambivalent relationship, let's say, with the popular, a bit like a tutelary figure in the tradition of paternalism that the film parodies. He is the lord who senses threats, even when these do not translate into direct political action, and predicts the apocalypse in hysterical proclamations about the “cloaca of the universe” and “shaken structures”, revealing himself to be an insecure version, no longer so convinced, of a dominant class that has learned its internal and external limits (the figure of Brahms bears witness to these).

To interpret such a figure, Glauber chose an actor associated with the telenovela world. And his gesture and appearance, contrasting with the obscene behavior of the imperialist, bring a more elaborate register, capable of condensing in a few scenes the idea of ​​the white man, descendant of the colonizers of the land, who is at the top of the local pyramid, but depends on Brahms. Its most peculiar tension, however, is not defined by the impossibility of answering the call “kill Brahms”; she comes from her status as a figure in the middle, an integral part of that world of the tropics that parades on screen, but bearing the signs of her otherness in the face of the popular festival and the fabric of rituals that carry that ecumenical religious background so often celebrated in the cinema of Glauber as the greatest source of the transforming energy of the Third World.

In his first appearance, the civilized white man is there in the middle of Carnival, among the extras from the Samba School who are preparing to enter the avenue, seeming to supervise the samba (as a supervisory presence, not as an executor of tasks linked to the performance itself). . Among the samba dancers, when seen from afar, he seems to be at ease – that world belongs to him. More closely, in close up, you can see that his smile is trying to hide a grimace, a tension in his face that tightens his mouth. Such rigidity betrays an inner strength in dissonance with the rhythm that her body seems to discreetly follow. His posture is reminiscent of what we have already seen in Vieira's expression in the moments of self-consciousness that make him step back from his theater at the rallies of earth in trance.

The trembling of “Tarcísio's” face very clearly reveals his status as a split figure, dual at its core. It belongs to the social fabric and does not belong; he is at the apparent center of power, but he looks at the world around him as someone who recognizes, in the corner of consciousness, his exteriority. As a “leftover” figure, he senses his vulnerability, which makes his theater of celebrating the achievements of his ancestors more intense, understood as building national unity, part of a local tradition that prevails over all beings that are within sight and who, in his view, work and dance like his subjects, validating the order that emanates from his presence as heir to the patrons of Independence. At the beginning, his dissonant figure, however assimilated in the midst of the sambista, already has an extraordinary effect, but another sequence closer to the end of the film masterfully summarizes his self-image and the conditions within which he proves to be necessary.

This is the long shot of Amarelinho, the bar in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Looking more at ease than at other times, Tarcísio Meira is sitting next to Danuza Leão and surrounded by the “people” who diegetically follow his statesmanlike speech, specifically the filming itself, like docile curious figures who do not move while the actor repeats the same speech several times, with different intonations. His recapitulation of the role of the elites (“we” did this and that) evokes the history of Brazil – Independence, Republic – and his praise of its class, through the repetition of speech and its increasingly contaminated tone by an involuntary irony, results on the contrary, producing an emptying that completes what the spectator has already noticed in his tensions in front of the party and in his weakness in front of Brahms.

The noble theatricality of Paulo Autran was fundamentally shown to compose the grotesque mask of a patriarchal, racist and exclusive authoritarianism in earth in trance, when we followed a man who spoke in public. In the age of the earth, the inverse scheme requires an actor with a different story, and Tarcísio, speaking in public as if talking to himself, brings that mix of conviction and knavery of someone used to the muted eloquence of the telenovela, composing the perfect mask of the rhetoric of a bachelor of slaves, then deconstructed by this game of repetition and difference.

A game that the montage reiterates throughout the film, whether when the “courtesan”, named Maria Madalena, urges him, like Lady Macbeth, to kill the American, or in his proclamations of the end of the world in the middle of Guanabara Bay. When we arrive at Amarelinho, everything is ready for our amusing reception of the scene that, as in the film, serves more as an example of a lucid composition of paintings independent, of those whose strength exalts the work, than as a link in a well-resolved articulation.

Housing anthological scenes like this one, the age of the earth is based, above all, on a punctual intensity, whether in the theater of the elites or in his exposition of the Brazil of popular festivals that expresses the filmmaker's faith in the redemption of humanity at a time when the hopes contained in the process of decolonization or liberation were already in crisis, at least in the sense that had marked the utopias of the 1960s and 70s. But Glauber relies on the beauty of the religious festival or carnival, understood as popular opposition to a death drive incarnated in the elites, and clearly associates it with a desire for unity, an oceanic and community feeling that is promised – perhaps it would be better to say, that is postulates in the film. The filmmaker is aware that the syncretic rituals, although by their very overlapping they bring an inscription of time and attest resistance, they do not support such historical-revolutionary projections just by the content of their concrete experience or their visible face.

And the discourse on the paths of history requires the supplement of the filmmaker's own speech, in a voice over, whose locution does not allow to outline, even in the anguish and the trampling of the syntax, a “master narrative” that the very texture of what is seen and heard does not support. Here, the threat of dispersion is conjured up by the authority of the filmmaker's voice, in the absence of articulations capable of making the baroque theater of Power, the evangelical fragments and the Afro-Brazilian rituals interact concretely, along with the aforementioned analogy. The tensions inherent to Glauber's style seem, in the age of the earth, surpassing the limit within which such interaction could gain greater specificity.

In the sixties, Glauber invented his extraordinary style by combining a ritualized dramatic space – a place for political schematizations along the lines of a baroque theater – with a profusion of hand-held camera movements, discontinuous editing and an aggressive soundtrack, elements capable of creating the original pulse that marked his cinema. Wide-open theatrical performances were observed by a reportage-style camera, this form of gaze that is dramatized when struggling with the richness of events before the lens, as if the events that composed the narrative were not yet in the narrator's domain.

The confrontation between the tactile look – questioning the face, the hands and the surface of the objects – and the great ceremonial of the actors was a formal characteristic that expressively translated the tensions between contradictory impulses, as is typical of the baroque: the movement towards the abstraction, with its conceptualized images, and the immersion in the sensible world, with its desire to include everything in the melee with the details of each experience. This contradiction found in earth in trance an extraordinary resolution, but it already announced the existing gap between hope, typical of the first moment of passion for history that crystallized in an expectation of urgent changes, and disenchantment. From then on, the sense of passion was configured from then on as a suffering of history, soon expressed at the level of style, as happens with every great artist.

There was, in Glauber's path, the initial bid of the primacy of the narrative, in God and the devil, whose allegory closed the sertão space to affirm, right there, an order of time teleologically structured in the times of figural allegorism with Christian roots. Afterwards, the crisis of history was expressed in the baroque drama, fully Benjaminian earth in trance, where time was corrosion, fall, disappointment. In another key, this crisis was reiterated in The Dragon of Evil, a film in which the pedagogical theater of the revolution, with its teleology, and the circularities of myth were trampled by an implacable movement, more rooted in the soil of history: the linearity of technical progress.

In 1969, Glauber already exposed, in images, the process by which modernity made myth and simulacrum reversible, imposing the master narrative of technical expansion driven by science and capital. The answer he offered, throughout the 1970s, was to amplify the scheme present in The Dragon of Evil, taking care to underline the moral question and refine its aesthetic correlate – the opposition of the sublime and the grotesque, the latter expressing the conflict between (popular) promises and decadence (of colonialist elites). With this, he consolidated the religious face of the social revolution that never left his horizon, but his almost discarding of an analytical spirit focused on the question of class struggle translated into the reiteration of the colonial matrix in increasingly schematic terms.

From the ideas of the left in the 1960s, Glauber preserved above all a populist and generic notion of imperialism. Interestingly, when he got to the age of the earth, the allegory was already the result of a sedimentation that had expelled teleology as a formal data from the work, although the film, even for this very reason, reveals a remarkable anchorage in the moment experienced by the filmmaker whose confessional tone and authenticity speak well of the split subject and his circumstance. He resists, at the level of will, the emptying of the great mythical narratives and replaces Christ in history, but his deeper intuition of the crisis leads him, as he had done in the 1970s, to a refusal to specify a time internal to the work grounded in a narrative.

In this period, a cinema dissolving the diegesis prevails, more concentrated in a logbook that gains strength when it reaches the interaction with the present, always betting its possible consistency on this opening to everyday life where the collection of passing notes is sewn by the reference to the subject. It's the time. Relying on the strength of the fragment and on the juxtapositions far removed from the politeness of commercial cinema, he launches a challenge that is all the more productive to the spectator the less he tries to monumentalize (sacralize) such procedures.

Of such a syntax made of juxtapositions of moments, the most expressive example in Glauber's trajectory was Clear (1975), carried out in Italy, when he radicalized informality and recorded his experience of someone who observes the daily life of European politics as a foreigner. the age of the earth there's a lot of this record on-site visit, from the suggestive inventory of the present, but the film's conception stretched over years and the endless filming gave excessive space to the principle of inclusion that has always tormented the filmmaker, in such a way that the allegorical armature was too narrow to articulate the influx of images and The mise-en-scène fragmentary. The visual experience of this film is an extraordinary example of the radicalization of camera-in-hand procedures glued to objects (almost like Stan Brakhage, at times). He explores bodies and tissues as perhaps never before in his work, but this experimentation with discontinuity does not vivify the paradigms of the great gospel narrative. In short, the vigorous dialectic of fragmentation and totalization, characteristic of Glauber, does not find resolutions with the same strength as before.

I already pointed out this problem in an article published at the time of the film's release, and I also pointed out what, in my view, was the most decisive thing: the fact that the film itself inscribes in its form and lucidly expresses the multifocal character, in progress, of the work, bringing clear signs of this incompleteness, in the refusal of symmetries that were at hand and could create the appearance that the filmmaker closed his speech. The most obvious fact is the absence of credits and a signature like “a film from…”, but what is decisive is the very texture of image and sound, especially at the end when the action dissolves into a discreet succession of wide shots that have everything. least the appearance of an end. As I observed on that occasion, Glauber did not try to model the impasses, on the contrary, he projected them as the formal principle that dominates his film.[ix]

An interesting feature of this incorporation of the impasse are the moments when the montage gains rhythm and the cuts create a pulsation that seems to project the party or carnival to another space, outlining the incidence of the trance that, in Glauber's cinema, enshrines the greatest moment of the characters' experience. I say “outlining” because the profusion of sensory data creates the pregnant constellation here, but this, in its duration letter, does not gain resonance as an “epochal” moment that separates before and after, does not show its ability to determine the destiny of characters. The trance sets in and the constellation soon dissolves; the agents of the great theater disperse to a new period of solipsistic monologues, difficult to unify even if one appeals to the cliché of the baroque parade as a heteroclite “national constant” that is built in the syncretism and in the variety of rituals.

The mosaic of visual essays expands across the various regions, even harboring a symbolic scheme that evokes the national, as the chosen locations are the three successive capitals, Salvador – Rio de Janeiro – Brasília, points where ethnic and religious articulations are condensed, the diversity that surrounds the parties in the square, the cult of Iemanjá, the carnival in Rio, the religious sermons in Brasília, umbanda, all helping to build an effect of collective search, religious in nature. The party is, however, the point of cohesion, however, problematic, as it transforms aesthetics into the exclusive pole of enunciation of promises that do not find echo in any other terrain, demanding the prophet's explicit profession of faith.

The trace of salvationist union introduces the passage from the syncretic world of difference and dialogue to the supremacy of the Same because, superimposed on the sense of union in diversity, the figure of the Messiah appears, a homogenizing force, center of the ideology of love, as perhaps the Palace da Alvorada is the spatial figure of a messianic immantation that the black Christ celebrates by taking Brasilia as the focus of a nation to build. Such supremacy of the same, represented by its avatars, effectively occurs, but it would be, in fact, inappropriate to project it categorically in the figure of a central stabilizing power, since the age of the earth, in its deliberate fragmentation and discontinuity, dissolves the architectural references that, at a given moment, it seems to choose as its “origin”, as happens with the Palácio da Alvorada. In fact, the film oscillates between an impulse towards monumentalization, projected in its own dimensions, and a utopian-democratic impulse towards street rituals, body parties and informality. Within this oscillation, the most effective straitjacket ends up being imposed by the analogy that involves the idea of ​​repetition, of consummation of cycles of rise, peak and decay.

Large-scale culturalist historicism, formulated at a maximum level of generality, ends up emptying one of the poles of Glauber's cinema – that of concrete history – leaving all the work of grounding hope to the mythical-aesthetic pole. The mark of this disproportionate incorporation proper to the age of the earth makes the practical terrain of politics diffuse and, at the same time, suggests such a lack of focus as inevitable, as if it correlates to the clear discomfort, beyond the look in tune with popular energy, in the face of the frayed character of the national fabric.

This is a “ghost” present in his nationalist anguish since the 1960s, and his cinema has repeatedly worked with the idea of ​​a mooring point still out of reach, something he was sure of at the beginning of his journey, but which has become increasingly more abstract so that the terms of constitution of the imagined community could be defined. In any hypothesis, it would take more than the richness and unity of the symbolic field of shared religions for the sense of the national or of any equivalent social entity to gain more defined contours.

That said, the active principle of regeneration, although it has a popular face and is opposed to class domination, opens the flank for a conservative tournament when it leans too much on analogies with a religious background to base a general diagnosis curiously articulated around the search for a leader , of the search for the Father that reaches its maximum term here, radicalizing the tensions between the African and Christian poles of his metaphysics. One can exhaustively describe the bipolar aspects of this film, highlighting the double focus of light in open field scenes, the scenographic diversity, the new appearances of god and the devil, the baroque texture of its mise-en-scène; one can evoke the figure of the ellipse with its two focal points of attraction as an emblematic trait of a “Latin American condition”, but there always remains the subsumption of variety, or bifocality, to the category of the same, since the postulation of the Savior in biblical terms prevails in allegory, no matter how African or Amerindian the props and bodies that make up the rituals celebrating regenerating religion are.

The cyclic scheme of decay and regeneration has varied versions in the history of ideas in this century, and tended to assert itself more in conservative thinkers such as, for example, Oswald Spengler, the author of The Decline of the West (1918-22). His picture of the life and death of cultures is based on the idea that these have their emerging moment, of greater vital tone, in the ascension phase of a new outbreak of spiritualism, religiosity, and walk towards their apogee until the excess of material progress and hypertrophy of technique in society reduces culture to civilization – its more properly material aspect embodied in the achievements of science and the domination of nature.

Rebirth and revitalization would depend exactly on the sphere of experience privileged by Glauber in his representation, where the panel of festivals and community rituals promises regeneration, as opposed to the sterility of dominant groups lost in their sexual obsessions and atomized by an exacerbated individualism. This reference, of course, does not here involve the assertion of an identity between the age of the earth and the European conservative tradition; he just wants to point out the crossing of paths that a type of diagnosis of the social crisis ends up producing, data inscribed with emphasis in the trajectory of cultural critics in this century. Appropriations or simply affinities are, at the same time, a “normal” datum of the process and a historical datum to be highlighted, as they define the flank of the ambiguity of many change projects, that which, once characterized, clarifies certain developments, the exchanges “ “surprises” of signal according to the conjuncture.

The critique of culture, in Glauber, involves other variables; his Christian-popular armor distances him from a Spengler, for example, and the proclaimed non-Eurocentric tenor of his syncretism gives another tenor to hope. However, this does not prevent it from ending in the hypothesis of the Messiah, finally assuming an afterlife for the civilizing cycle based on the premises of Western Europe (excuse the cliché). On the other hand, there is in the Glauberian thematic constellation an interesting bundle of contradictions that echo, departing from the European reference, with the religious political debate whose point of accumulation and violence has been, in recent history, again the Middle East, such a striking example as that of Central Europe in the tragedies involved in the imbroglio of politics and religion anchored on messianic bases.

I know very well that the syncretic character – not fundamentalist or “faithful to the letter” – of the religion that informs the idea of ​​salvation in the age of the earth brings a different route to the examples evoked, as the attitude of gathering lessons from popular sources gives a clear peculiarity to Glauber's “master narrative”. This, however, is far from avoiding other imbroglios. Starting with coexistence sui generis of messianism and matriarchy as utopian references. Interestingly, with and against Oswald, the identity discourse oscillates. Sometimes it is based on matriarchal utopias and hedonistic exaltations, as in the Paradise at the beginning of the film or in the Dionysian aspect of the party moments that signal a principle of unity; sometimes it leans on its opposite, by affirming a messianic philosophy of authoritarian evocation and uneasy with otherness (at least as far as history offers us evidence).

For an exercise in limits, I have already recalled here the experience of charismatic nationalisms that, in other contexts, made effective their authoritarian potential and took to the extreme a monumentalism made of order and geometry. They were projects to incorporate the people as part of a social machine inclined to efficiency (messianic type) and, culturally, they find aesthetic expression in festivals where the mass was an ornament, to recall Kracauer's expression. Obviously, in Glauber's case, it is a different story, social formation and conjuncture. And his film marks, even within its path of aestheticizing politics, its difference in the face of such examples, due to the nature of the experience it favors, the way of articulating the aesthetic and the religious, the informality and “root incontinence” in everything. alien to the world of industrial discipline that marked the European-style messianic authoritarianism.

Finally, cohesion in the age of the earth it does not imply principles of social exclusion or mechanical repetitions, as the film runs through a number of non-vectorized parties, with no dogmatic doctrinal-textual body to organize the field of history. Averse to discipline, refusing symmetries and geometric pathways, the film moves away from the architectural (associated there with the city, tomb and death), which “save” it from the condition of a classic national monument. Indeed, dissolutions and tramplings help the age of the earth in his desire to reconcile the always problematic idea of ​​democratization with the principle of charisma.

In various ways the culturalist scheme of the age of the earth it looks for openings, assimilation of differences, and asserts a desire for effective immersion in the valley of dispersions that the territory offers in sight, rich in imageries and performances. These, at times, give rise to a montage in which everything seems to fit in the direction of an ecstasy that is, in fact, out of reach, harmed by interferences that dissolve it before crystallization, a symptom of a crisis that finds an answer in the domain of the messianic word, whether by Pitanga, Jece Valadão or even Glauber.

Such a word is necessary because the filmmaker's gesture implies judgment, moral demarcation, which strains his images and opens space for the evangelical grid that demands, by the tenor of his reading of life in the Empire, the matrix of decadence as a pole from the which opposes his message of love. As there are problems with the various fittings, the film is forced to generate oxymorons that are not new in affirming the peculiarity of this national formation of “great future”. The Christ within the people is hedonistic, matriarchalism is messianic, the regime is authoritarian, but the fabric of life is an anticipation of a democratic future.

In short, the conception of the national implied in the age of the earth it does not exactly affirm the nation as a secular and modern principle of unity, capable of replacing principles of cohesion supported by dynasties or religious fundamentalisms. What we have there is much more the return of the identification of the national with the field of popular religion, since both are mutually constructed, against the oppression of capital and imperialism. However, the question remains: doesn't allegory fulfill one of its recurrent roles in history, as a way of re-appropriating differences? Do the party's subjects agree with this national-messianic inscription of their rituals? Isn't there a repetition of that first appropriation of the signs of paganism, one among other re-semanticizations carried out by Christianity in its idea of ​​a universal history?

Glauber does not want to discard this horizon of a universal history, which defines the stability, in his cinema, of the nation of imperialism. The difficulty is that this notion gradually tended to be incarnated in agents that were too caricatured, somewhat suspended and below what the new narrative structures guided by discontinuity required. Hence the gap between the aesthetic-religious inspiration of the allegory, with its cycles of rise and decay, and the shy conception of such an allegory requires the economic assumptions of Brahms' maneuvers so that his figure assumes the role of Anti-Christ that fits him. in the schema. The problem is that there is no reason to, within the set dynamics (along with what the words say), imagine that the continuity of the party and the full affirmation of the sacred would produce the collapse of imperialism, as if money had not already shown his intimacy with religion, and as if this, by nature, were the enemy of capital.

However, the film proposes the popular ritual as a kind of revolution in a practical state, and its arc dispenses with considerations about everything else that was on the agenda of social struggles about everything else that was on the agenda of social struggles in the late 1970s. , reduced to a slight evocation of the local situation brought about by the interview, about the 1964 coup and the dictatorship, with the journalist Carlos Castello Branco. The conversation is shallow and at times Acacian in its observations about the military regime, serving more as an ironic juxtaposition of the “period document” type, an interlocution inserted in the filmmaker’s logbook, an annotation of the moment made with a sense of relativization of speech by behavior of the camera and the tone of the sequence.

In any case, it is symptomatic that the age of the earth prefer the mediation of the journalist to talk about the political conjuncture, reserving, for the direct word of the filmmaker, the general themes of the plan of salvation of the humanity. Of course, in the combination of these two gestures, there is confidence in the power of allegory to comment on current political life, but I believe that the same difficulty is manifested there, at this moment, in finding the best balance between empirical references and figurations that, for in turn, had already fulfilled the extraordinary role of revising the historiography in other films by the filmmaker.

Ironically, his conception of politics as a battle of charismas and his utopia of democratic communions sanctioned by religion saved him from the illusions typical of those who understood, at that moment, redemocratization as a panacea. However, they reaffirmed their commitment to other forms of mythology that had always been present in their baroque theatre, here projected on the terrain of the battle between culture and civilization. What I noted about your analogy does not hark back to Spengler. tout court, as we have seen, but puts a regressive convergence of politics and religion on the horizon. An aspect that only did not gain a concrete dimension in the debate because the conjuncture offered him, in Brazil, the possibility of thinking of religion as a culture of the oppressed, not as a religion of the State (I do not need to mention here the histories of authoritarianism and oppression involved).

After his exasperated outburst in the Cahiers du Cinema by recording testimony about Pasolini's death, Glauber ended up heading towards a kind of agony of a lost hero, demanding ambitious responses from himself, and increasingly out of reach, in the face of an unacceptable situation. His resumption of the theme of Christ, inspired in part by Pasolini, gave expression to his impasses, to the mix of commitments and rebellions that entangled him with the various forces and orders in conflict on the planet. Between the large scale of the project and the clear sense of unresolved fractures along the way, his last film offers us yet another example of this primacy of contradiction that has always marked the filmmaker: on the one hand, the inflated allegorical panel, the ritual in cinemascope, a aesthetics of large choreographic blocks; on the other hand, the festival of excesses that distances the discipline related to messianic ideologies and dissolves any sense of formal rigidity and centrality.

Em the age of the earth, Glauber refuses to polish an idealized and desirable image of himself, one of those that are proposed as a monument to posterity. He leaves as his testament the implacable exposure of a crisis.

*Ismail Xavier He is a professor at the School of Communication and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of Sertão mar: Glauber Rocha and the aesthetics of hunger (Publisher 34).

Originally published in Cinemais magazine, No. 13, Sep.-Oct. 1998.



[I] For an analysis of Terra é semper terra, see the text by Maria Rita Galvão in Bourgeoisie and Cinema – the Vera Cruz case (Rio de Janeiro, Editora Civilização Brasileira, 1981).

[ii] For a detailed analysis of this film by Ruy Guerra, see my text “The Gods and the Dead, curse of the gods or of history?”On The Island of Desterro number 32, 1997, magazine edited by the Federal University of Santa Catarina.

[iii] The film Argila was the subject of a doctoral thesis by Cláudio Aguiar Almeida. “Cinema as an agitator of souls': Clay, a scene from the Estado Novo”, defended at the Department of History at FFLCH-USP, in 1993; The Bandeirantes was analyzed in Eduardo Morettin's doctoral thesis, “Cinema and History: an analysis of the film Os Bandeirantes”, defended with the Department of Cinema, Radio and Television of ECA-USP, in 1994.

[iv] VIEW “Allegories of Disappointment”, Habilitation thesis USP, 1989; It is Allegories of underdevelopment – ​​New Cinema, Tropicalism, Marginal Cinema (São Paulo, Brasiliense, 1993). For the relationship between cinema and Nelson Rodrigues, see “Humiliated parents, wicked children”On New Studies – CEBRAP, number 37 (1993), and "Private Vices, Public Catastrophes"On New Studies – CEBRAP, number 39 (1994).

[v] In both films, attention to gesture and body engagement, whether in a performance observed by the camera or in the camera's own movements, defines an impulse to dissolve the world of representation and narrative that brings connections with other practices of visual art in the Brazil, especially with the work of Hélio Oiticica. This is a common feature of Glauber and Bressane, more or less accentuated according to the time (and I could add Arthur Omar in this axis of the primacy of the gesture as a form of dialogue with the experiences derived from neoconcretism). Although with different perspectives, they are filmmakers who look for moments of destabilization of the frame and its geometry to explore textures and a tactility that privileges an engagement of the body, the passage to the act, a cinema that wants a sensorial experience that falls short of the illusions of three-dimensionality, ritual of another order than that of classical illusionism.

[vi] For a detailed discussion of the notion of decay, see Julien Freund, The decadence (Paris, Éditions Sirey, 1984). And also Jacques Le Goff, "Decadence" em history and memory (Campinas, UNICAMP Publisher, 1994).

[vii] Fiction dedicated to this type of experience has been the subject of many studies, but works involving literature and cinema are rare, as is the case, which is worth highlighting, of the doctoral thesis by Denilson Lopes, we the dead, defended in March 1977 at the University of Brasília, Depto. of Sociology.

[viii] See Benedict Anderson, National notion and conscience, Sao Paulo, Attica, 1989.

[ix] See Ismail Xavier, “Gospel, third world and irradiation from the plateau” em Film Culture 38/39, 1982.

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