Summer rains

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By MARIAROSARIA FABRIS*

Considerations about Carlos Diegues' film

They are simple houses, with chairs on the sidewalk.

And with Afonso – an employee of an office or department in the center of Rio de Janeiro, who, upon retiring, takes viewers to the neighborhood where he lives – which begins Summer rains (1977), by Carlos Diegues. It is interesting to note, from the beginning, that the camera will remain glued to the protagonist almost the entire time and that it will be through him, following his gaze or his wandering, that it will enter windows and doors, leading us to discover aspects of life in the suburbs. carioca, in a procedure very similar to the pediment (act of being on the trail), proclaimed by Cesare Zavattini, screenwriter of Umberto D (Umberto D.

This film, directed by Vittorio De Sica, one of the best known to address the hardships of a retiree, is the likely source of inspiration for Diegues, although his interpretation of old age is in a different light. In Summer rains, the camera follows the protagonist and the other characters and, at times, seems to move based on contact with the surrounding reality, in a constant attempt to get to know the other, of which we often only see the surface.

In the prologue and opening sequence of the film, the situation is already given. We have a farewell party for our colleagues, with two excited young women speculating whether Afonso is still “a lean old man” or whether he is “past his age and no longer poses a danger”; the lobby of Dom Pedro II station (Central do Brasil) and the train in which a girl, who turned to see who was behind her, when faced with our protagonist, is reassured by his appearance as an elderly man; the typical streets of a suburban neighborhood that the retiree crosses until he reaches a simple house, where, before entering, he shouts to the neighbor who lives opposite “I'm never going to take off my pajamas again, Mr. Lourenço”, shaking his empty briefcase; the golden pen (the reward for his dedication to his work) that he shows to the portrait of his late wife on the dresser; the walk, already in his pajamas, through the neighborhood streets, when he confesses to Mr. Lourenço that he hadn't retired sooner out of fear of his wife; the celebration that the neighbors are preparing in his honor, which will also be attended by his daughter Dodora, accompanied by her husband, Geraldo, who “plays with the Stock Exchange”; Afonso's look at Isaura, the neighbor who appears in white, like an apparition, to congratulate him; Lurdinha, his maid, who asks him to hide her fiancé, Honório (aka Lacraia), wanted by the police; Sanhaço, the worker friend, who fixes his kitchen tap for free, while remembering a samba he composed about Lacraia and that Juraci, the local scoundrel, sold to another “composer”.

Thus, we quickly know that Afonso is an elderly man, a widower, who, apparently, no longer “offers any danger”, but who looks out for his neighbor, who, upon retiring, having locked away other dreams at the bottom of a drawer, he has plans to become just a spectator of life: the chair he installs on the sidewalk, in front of the front door, symbolizes this attitude well. He is very loved by the neighborhood, with whom he gets along well, and lives in a suburban neighborhood where solidarity still has value for its inhabitants, all of whom are good, hard-working people, although among them there is always one or two freeloaders.

The central theme of Summer rains, old age, is interspersed with some subplots that illuminate Afonso's character, outline a panel of the microcosm in focus (and, by extension, the macro as well) and reveal the director's intentions. In the magazine cinemas, José Carlos Avellar had already pointed out how, from the 1970s onwards, the “construction of the spectacle” was quite similar in several of the filmmaker’s films, thanks to “the insertion of a series of secondary characters who have a very strong presence”. This is what happens in the work on screen, if we think about the emphasis given to the stories of Mr. Lourenço, Dona Helô and Virgínia, mainly.

According to a statement by Carlos Diegues himself to cinemas: “My films are books of stories, they are a succession of stories tied together through a structure. […] My films start from […] very simple structures, of enormous fragility, which are complemented by these small external references that, sometimes, even run the risk of becoming ornaments”.

Em Summer rains, this does not happen; however, the film almost runs this risk,[1] in the two moments in which it goes beyond the suburban universe – in the variety theater sequences and in the apartment where Geraldo is caught by his wife. What “justifies” the two episodes within the filmic structure is the author’s intention to broaden the horizon portrayed to, by contrast, exalt the positive values ​​of the protagonist’s surroundings.

Long life, long road

It is interesting to note that the film was shot in 1977 and released the following year, that is, in a period before the concept of old age emerged among us,[2] which took place in the 1980s, having become popular at the beginning of the following decade. This data is important, because at the time the director created his work, aging was seen as an extremely problematic fact from a subjective and social point of view.

The adoption of some positive actions regarding old age and euphemisms to designate it, in today's society, does not always reduce the discouragement of those who reach this stage of life, even when it comes to people with surprising “intellectual longevity”.[3]. As the Italian jurist and philosopher Norberto Bobbio confessed: “I have a melancholic old age, melancholy understood as the consciousness of the unrealized and the no longer achievable. The image of life corresponds to a road whose end always moves forward, and when we believe we have reached it, it is not the one we imagined as definitive. Old age then becomes the moment in which we are fully aware that the path is not only not completed, but there is also no more time to complete it, and we must give up on completing the last stage.”

If, in the past, as the Roman philosopher and orator Cicero wrote, it was accepted that “life follows a very precise course and nature endows each age with its own qualities”, with the last of them being “wisdom, clairvoyance and discernment"; if old age, considered “the final scene of this play that constitutes existence”, was crowned by the natural ascendancy that the elderly man (especially when he had an exemplary past) exercised over his family and his community, with the fraying of the ties that once existed. brought the generations together, today's society, as Benedito Nunes highlighted: “broke this bond, devalued the knowledge of experience, corroded the collective memory, devalued the memory; therefore, old age dispossessed its gift to society and culture. From the natural condition of survivor of a generation that he is, [...] the elderly man, because unproductive [...] passes, covered by the clinical label of 'third age', to the anonymity of the excluded without a voice” (reported by Vera Maria Tietzmann Silva ).

Despite this variation dictated by cultural and/or economic factors, what matters is that, pressured by a society in which human beings only have value when they produce profitable goods, as Simone de Beauvoir also denounced in her essay old age (1970), a person, upon reaching this stage of life, in addition to feeling like dead weight, seems to have renounced aspirations, dreams, desires, a future, we could say.

It is this issue that Cacá Diegues focuses on,[4] more specifically about the elderly person’s relationship with their body, their libido. And, even more surprising for those years, the film focuses on female desire in old age.[5] Em Summer rains, there are three elderly women to be focused on to represent this issue: Isaura, attracted to her neighbor, with her drive suffocated by social pressure and family ties; Dona Helô, forced to renounce sex by the imposition of her husband Abelardo, a friend of Afonso, who confesses to him that she still has “dreams of a lot of rubbish, a lot of perdition, a lot of dirt”; Virgínia Diniz, the dramatic actress/star, who pays for having the courage to follow her impulses alongside the young Paulinho (son of Abelardo and Helô).

In contrast to these bodies mortified by age is the young body of Lurdinha, who gives full vent to her sexuality with her boyfriend, spied on by Afonso, who, upon seeing the two young people intertwined, feels his desire increase and, humiliated, He takes refuge in his room to complete his solitary act. Because, for men too, sex had an age, without him being accused of untimely agitation.[6]. Abelard, at the age of 60, to ensure a long and healthy life renounced carnal union and spends his days hanging on the phone to find out if and how his contemporaries survive, in terms of health; Lourenço hides the tragic pedophilia that affected him behind his sad clown mask at the end of his career; Afonso channels his desire in the looks he gives his neighbor, who silently reciprocates.

This is the taboo that Summer rains breaks, by showing that, just like feelings, sex also still pulsates in these people for whom life seems to have no more surprises in store. And, in the film's most poetic sequence, the director finally makes the meeting between Isaura and Afonso happen.

These are things of the moment, they are summer rains

Worried about the retiree, who has just gone through some mishaps (Juraci denounced him for giving shelter to Lacraia, but Sanhaço saved his face, while Lourenço, to divert the police's attention from his friend, confesses that he kidnapped, raped and killed a girl) , the neighbor rings the doorbell. This happens right at the time when Afonso is asking the portrait of the deceased to intercede so that death takes him, hitting him hard in the chest to make his heart crack.

Your heart, on the contrary, will explode with happiness upon welcoming Isaura. To break the ice of a somewhat embarrassed conversation, he offers her beer, she reads some “verses”, perhaps written by her, and talks about her own life (her fiancé, her pregnancy, her abortion, her dedication to her older sisters, days as a suburban clerk), the two dance to the sound of Let's walk, sung by Francisco Alves, the retiree boasts that he knows how to please the ladies, kisses her, declares his desire, but the neighbor tries to hide behind a common phrase – “Neither of us are old enough for love” – , he kisses her again. And then, in the most touching moment of the film, from behind the room's curtain, two half-naked bodies appear, showing the marks of time. On the ground, stripped of any modesty, hands and arms reach out to each other, Isaura exclaims “We can”, the two love each other, while it rains outside.

The phrases they exchanged before the sexual act acquire real meaning and the film reaches its full meaning. To the shy manifestation of Isaura’s feelings and libido – “Life is not like the waters of the river that pass without rest, nor like the sun that always comes and goes. Life is a summer rain, sudden and fleeting, that evaporates when it falls” – Afonso responded with the impetuosity of his desire: “My interest in you didn’t start as soon as you moved to the neighborhood. It grew slowly, day by day, like a stream that thickens without you noticing because the rains are falling at the source. Suddenly, it becomes a flood.” If Afonso felt the pleasure increase, Isaura allowed herself to be convinced that she has to take advantage of this new chance that life is giving her: so, they both give vent to their desire for extreme enjoyment.

Although without the same load of sensuality with which Zulmira lets herself be possessed by the rain in the deceased (1965), by Leon Hirszman,[7] Afonso's sequence under the downpour, after the embrace, has an unquestionable erotic force. What the retiree celebrates, when surrendering to the regenerating water, is sexuality no longer hidden and ashamed, but free and unhindered. It is the seed of life that once again sprouted into his body, mortified by age and social restrictions. It is the flowering of new energies in senility, however ephemeral and illusory that moment may be. It is the exaltation of this untimely “summer” of his existence.

By drinking rainwater after love, Afonso wants to retain this moment within himself so that it doesn't disappear quickly. Life can be like summer rains, sudden and fleeting, but before the waters evaporate, we have to surrender to their whirlwind, no matter when, no matter how, no matter the price to pay, the man seems to tell us. film. Otherwise, Dona Helô will be left with the bitter realization that she thinks she has messed up in life by giving up her desired concert career.

This dream that I've been dreaming for as long as I've been dreaming

This is the second theme that Summer rains addresses hidden desires, aspirations that are left aside by everyday pragmatism, by social or family impositions, and which end up generating conflicts and frustrations. It is here that the film broadens its spectrum, focusing not only on the inhabitants of the suburbs, such as Sanhaço, who aspired to be a football player (he became a reserve for Bangu), perhaps a samba player, and is a worker, but also Geraldo, a resident of south zone, apparently successful in life and happily married, but who, beneath his arrogance, hid a homosexual drive.

For the filmmaker (as mentioned by Sérvulo Siqueira): “This is a film about people who don't live the life they would really like to have lived. In principle it would be called Two lives: that life that you are forced to live, either for strong reasons, or by social pressure or by virtue of reality itself; and another life that you either live secretly, or simply don't live for reasons of social repression or for internal reasons. And the film is about how easy it is to explore this contradiction and often assume a certain radicalism. So this is not a decadent film because if some characters don't resolve this contradiction, others do. This is an optimistic film.”

Despite the opinion of its director, in Summer rains, there is a certain pessimism – or, at least, a certain melancholy – regarding what each of us does with our lives, a pessimism that spreads from a microcosm to society as a whole, from the suburbs to the city's most upscale neighborhoods : if Lourenço's behavioral deviation is hidden in Marechal Hermes, the small or big dreams of Afonso, Isaura, Helô, Sanhaço and many other residents of the neighborhood, in the center and in Copacabana reveal Dodora's frustration, Geraldo's sexual tendency , the true face of Virgínia Diniz, former dramatic actress for well-known suburbanites, a decadent star in her every night reality.

A somewhat romantic vision of Rio's North Zone, which has its roots both in the proto-Cinema Novo,[8] as well as in the experience of Carlos Diegues, who spent his adolescence in Botafogo, an enclave in the South Zone, but which, in his own words (in the statement that makes up the video), “at the time, it was an almost suburban neighborhood, at least from suburban characteristics.”

In two cinemanovist films – golden mouth (1962), by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and the aforementioned the deceased –, paradigmatic as chronicles of Rio’s suburban life, a more critical look at that reality is taken. According to Ismail Xavier, in the first, with the option for a humanist approach, “the notorious violence does not erase a touch of innocence on the faces of the actors […], figures that allow us to capture a Brazil, or a representation of it, before the souring of 1964 and the hard learning of violence in the new cycle of conservative modernization”, while the second belongs to that “set of disenchanted Brazilian films, made in the period 1965-70, in which there is a clear effort to better understand the mentality of those sections of the population from which the I expected different behavior in the political crisis we were experiencing at the time.”

Em Summer rains, although personal experience is at the origin of the affection with which the director focuses on this universe, we cannot forget that Central do Brasil – as a watershed between the rich city and the suburb to which the classes were increasingly being pushed less favored as Rio de Janeiro modernized – became a symbol in our cinematography, at least from the 1950s onwards. A process that the film does not fail to show, not only by remembering the future expropriation of Afonso's house for the construction of a viaduct, but by comparing the houses built when the neighborhood was founded with the most recent housing complexes, like the one in which The Lacraia family resides in true vertical slums.

We cure loneliness by being interested in others

This is not the only implicit criticism of the social issues of the time present in the film. As the narrator chose to be a character among his characters, this criticism, however, is not scathing. Afonso respects the law, but at the same time, he shelters Lacraia (about whose social extraction there is no doubt) and refuses to collaborate with the police. When Juraci comments that he is a dangerous criminal, the pensioner retorts that for him a dead criminal is just a child covered in blood.

We must emphasize that this episode, in addition to confirming Afonso's good character, brings to mind the disparity between the crime committed and the penalty applied, since the end of the 1950s, by the Rio police, especially in the following decade, with the emergence of squads of death[9]. Here two themes dear to our cinema in the 1950s and 1960s come together, especially: the coexistence between the marginal and the worker against the oppression of the ruling class and the government, and intra-class solidarity. It is clear that those were still years in which a more idealized vision of the outlaw could prevail, which will gradually disappear with the escalation of drug trafficking and the consequent violence that it entailed. After all, Lacraia could be a robber, but he still feels horrified when thinking about what Mr. Lourenço might have done to the kidnapped child.

And if Afonso will not betray the trust that Honório and Lurdinha placed in him, it will be Sanhaço who will carry forward the flag of solidarity, not only by helping his neighbor escape from the police, but mainly by becoming the depository of all the values ​​in what its people believe: the final sequence of the film is quite significant in this sense. While the retiree is entering the house with city hall employees to deal with the expropriation, the worker, on the sidewalk in front (accompanied by one of his children), calls him and the two greet each other. And the camera leaves Afonso once and for all and starts following Sanhaço (with his son), who, after having caught up with his wife and three other children, walks with them all down the same street that we saw Afonso walk on when he returned from his last day of work.

It is a bucolic scene, in a closed shot, permeated by a soft melancholy, even more accentuated by the crying that accompanies it, and with a certain air of nostalgia for a universe destined to disappear with the advance of modernization, but whose primordial values ​​may persist until that there are people willing to believe them. Simple people, whose desires are often frustrated, but who do not lose hope for better days and, with it, the joy of living. This ending, from which the film once again draws its poetic nature, also highlights its limits.

Let's walk, maybe we'll see you later

Summer rains can be considered the translation into images of the song humble people (by Garoto, Vinícius de Morais and Chico Buarque), a more disenchanted version, in certain aspects, but equally poetic. In the statement that makes up the video, Carlos Diegues reveals opposing feelings regarding his work. If, on the one hand – by highlighting that Summer rains was dedicated to his children, children at that time -, he explains that he did it “because I think that a film about people who didn't know how to live their lives should be a lesson for those who are still going to live theirs”, on the other hand, it presents a optimistic reading: “In any case, it is not a negative film, in the sense of saying that life is not worth it, no, on the contrary, so much so that the main character of this film finds happiness, finally understands his feelings, the meaning of your life, exactly when it is at the end. In other words, even if we are about to die, we are still alive and, as long as we are alive, it is always worth it.”

Despite the second reading of its director, what remains at the end is a certain dismay. On the one hand, the director avoids a declared happy ending between Isaura and Afonso, as there is no indication that they will continue their story, after their very brief season of love, mainly because the retiree will have his house expropriated. Not that it matters or changes what the two lived together and the moral of the work itself. As in other episodes, however, it gives the feeling that these characters were only offered crumbs and that is what they must be content with. From this comes that minor tone, typical of the chronicle, but which is also the tone in which the lives of the people portrayed passed. Basically, despite the moments of exaltation, the observation in this work by Cacá Diegues is no different from that in other cinemanovist works about the North Zone. But his characters seem more defeated, more trapped by suburbia.

the end of golden mouth, on the contrary, points to a possibility of exit, by revealing “the horizon of an urban agitation that continues its course”, which could mean that Nelson Pereira dos Santos ended “the film with a timid nod towards a distinct and perhaps more promising in the city that offers other channels of experience”, in the words of Ismail Xavier. The lack of perspectives also dominates the deceased: in this work, however, although it seeks to explain “a social situation with its internal contradictions, in which the characters struggle without much awareness of the circumstances that move them”, Leon Hirszman, in the end, seems to sympathize with Zulmira and the husband, seeing in them “two victims of an advanced, and ultimately lethal, process of alienation. Their lives are worth little, as they have no control over them”, as Luiz Zanin Oricchio pointed out.

Carlos Diegues, however, despite seeking to promote the recovery of popular values ​​in the suburbs, despite wanting to show the other side of the coin, that is, a petty bourgeoisie in solidarity and not lost in its small vices and pettiness, does so guided rather by sense common, by a vague humanism[10] not very different from the Zavattinian,[11] without opening new perspectives for its characters, nor criticizing the social environment in which they were given to live, making the background a mere setting for their film. By depriving his characters of a more historical and/or more ideological dimension, the director offers them only a second sentimental chance, while seeming to condemn them to remain socially immobilized within the limits imposed by the train line.

*Mariarosaria Fabris is a retired professor at the Department of Modern Letters at FFLCH-USP. Author, among other books, of Nelson Pereira dos Santos: a neo-realist look? (edusp). [https://amzn.to/3PYm91L]

Revised version of “Humble People”, text published in Scientific Magazine/FAP, v. 6, Jul.-Dec. 2010.

References


BEAUVOIR, Simone de. old age. Rio de Janeiro: New Frontier, 1990.

BOBBIO, Norberto. The time of memory: from senectute and other autobiographical writings. Rio de Janeiro: Campus, 1997.

CHEVALIER, Jean; GHEERBRANT, Alain. symbol dictionary. Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio, 1991 (entries water and rain).

CICERO, Marco Tulio. Knowing how to grow old followed by friendship. Porto Alegre: L&PM, 2009 [the work dates back to 44 BC].

DIEGUES, Carlos. Summer rains. Rio de Janeiro: Globovídio, sd [the director's statement is part of the video].

________. “Conceição at 40 degrees. Carnivalization, the logic of the spectacle and the keyword of the 20th Century”. cinemas, Rio de Janeiro, n?.17, May-Jun. 1999 [conversation with José Carlos Avellar, Geraldo Sarno, José Antônio Pinheiro and Ivana Bentes].

MOURA, Mariluce. “The power of the old” (Jul. 2009). Available on the Pesquisa FAPESP website – online.

ORICCHIO, Luiz Zanin. “A political vision of the Rio suburbs”. The State of S. Paul, 17 Jan. 2010.

SÈVE, Lucien. “For an active third age”. Le Monde Diplomatique Brazil, São Paulo, year III, 30, Jan. 2010.

SILVA, Vera Maria Tietzmann. “Reading about old age: review”. UFG Magazine, Goiânia, year V, n. 2, Dec. 2003. Available on the website www.proec.ufg.br.

SIQUEIRA, Sérvulo. “Five days of suburban reality”. The Globe, Rio de Janeiro, 28 June. 1977.

VENTURA, Zuenir. broken city🇧🇷 São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1994.

XAVIER, Ismail. The look and the scene: melodrama, Hollywood, Cinema Novo, Nelson Rodrigues. São Paulo: Cosac & Naify, 2003.

Notes


[1] In addition to almost getting lost in some subplots, the film suffers from a lack of rhythm at several points and presents irregular interpretations alongside good performances.

[2] For geriatrics, old age begins at age 75, while the World Health Organization establishes a variation based on cultural and/or economic factors, classifying people over 65 years of age as elderly in developed countries, and with more than 60, in those in development. If, at the beginning of this century, people over 60 years old constituted 10% of the world population and this percentage is heading towards 22% in 2050, we cannot forget that, ten years ago, in Brazil, life expectancy was 30 years old and, even in the United States, he was no more than 50 (Mariluce Moura).

[3] In Lucien Sève's opinion, a person with “high-level training, renewal always full of motivations, abilities and activities, in addition to the progressive achievement of autonomy in relation to the world and oneself” would be assured of “creative longevity” . According to the French philosopher, the challenge of contemporary society would be to make this the rule, that is, as Karl Marx said, “to form circumstances humanly” for everyone.

[4] As can be deduced from an interview given to Siqueira, at the time of the film, Diegues' thinking converges with that of the French writer and the Brazilian intellectual: “Have you noticed that with the outbreak – from the 60s onwards – of contestation and vindication of sexual, political and social minorities, one has not yet appeared in the age sense. There is the gaypower but there is no old power. And this is very strange. And yet old people are very interesting. They are people who have lived experiences that we have not. I know I'm saying something obvious, but it's true. In general, old people are condemned by young people and by the system itself to social immobility and sexual inactivity. And this film – I'm not going to say it's about that – but it has this aspect that old people are not that. There is this legend of the young as revolutionary and the old as reactionary. This is absurd Manichaeism. You often find older people who are extremely more revolutionary than certain young people today. So the film has this aspect – a kind of interrogation about age, not as the approach of death but as the persistence of life at a later stage. The tendency of Catholic capitalist civilization is that the moment the individual is no longer productive for society he begins to await death. This film is exactly the opposite of this, in the sense that the old characters serve an opposite demonstration. Because life ends when you die and not when you start waiting for death. In general, the relationship with old age appears from a very pious point of view. Pity for the elderly is an extremely reactionary thing because it sounds like a form of condemnation, of marginalization. I am not sorry for old age, I am trying to show that you cannot condemn an ​​individual to social death before he dies.”

[5] We cannot forget, however, that feminism in the 1970s made the management of women's bodies one of its main demands.

[6] For Cicero, “freed from the flesh”, from the tyranny of voluptuousness – this “deplorable passion” –, old people should cultivate the pleasures of the spirit. According to the Roman speaker, the elderly not only did not feel with the same intensity “that kind of tickling that pleasure provides”, but they did not suffer when deprived of it. This type of judgment does not seem to have changed much, if even today the public laughs at the carnal intercourse between Afonso and Isaura in Summer rains, as happened during the screening of the film at MuBE (Brazilian Sculpture Museum), in São Paulo, on December 10, 2009, as part of the event Living knowledge, whose objective was to develop cultural activities linked to the theme of old age and the taboos of aging.

[7] According to Ismail Xavier: “In the deceased, the presence of rain as an occasion for enjoyment and autoeroticism is revealing in the protagonist’s journey, achieving a unique aesthetic value: it is an anthological scene”

[8] To give an example, it would be enough to remember the first two feature films by Nelson Pereira dos Santos, River, forty degrees (1955) and Rio, North Zone (1957). According to Diegues (in cinemas), the first and the piece Orfeu da Conceição (1956), by Vinícius de Moraes, “were a very big discovery, a founding moment for a series of things in my life”; the second, “a stunning film; […] A masterpiece; I even plagiarized in the big city [1966]; There’s a lot of stuff from Nelson’s film, I paid homage, let’s say.”

[9] As Zuenir Ventura recalls, at the end of the 1950s, the Special Diligence Service emerged, which had among its staff graduates from the Special Police of the Estado Novo. The corporation could adopt any “drastic measures” it deemed necessary to “cleanse” the city of Rio de Janeiro of marginalization. It was the beginning of the Death Squad, also known as Turma da Pesada or Men of Gold, from which the Scuderie Le Cocq would derive, led by delegate Milton Le Cocq de Oliveira.

[10] Diegues’ words (transcribed in cinemas), when reflecting on his Orpheus (1998-1999), could be applied to Summer rains: “To recover even certain words lost due to the excess of psychoanalytic, sociological and anthropological disciplines, etc., to recover certain ideas such as generosity, compassion (compassion not in the sense of pity: compassion in the sense of solidarity in the trajectory of the other), basic ideas of Western civilization , Christianity, Hellenism, modern democracy but which are being put in the background in this century either by the closed ideologies of the first half of the century, or by this voracity of profit, this voracity of consumption, this voracity of the idea that you think in the other it's stupidity – understand? I think that these basic ideas are from the world of the spirit, and only art can deal with them. They are ideas that do not have class struggle behind them, they are ideas that do not have Oedipus behind them, they are ideas that do not have any of these mechanisms of ideological imprisonment that were invented in the 19th century. In other words, I think it is time for a new spiritual enlightenment, a slightly more modest neo-humanism, in which man does not triumph in the end, does not triumph in the sense of classical triumphalism, of the humanisms of classless society, heaven when you die, no. A modest and non-triumphalist neo-humanism in which perhaps human defects are the greatness of man as an original being on the planet. This… Only art can handle this; politics cannot handle this; the human sciences cannot handle this, only art can handle this, only artistic creation can handle this.”

[11] As explained in the previous note, Carlos Diegues, like Cesare Zavattini, is imbued with a Christian-based humanism, in which interest in others appears associated with compassion. The Marxist humanism of Nelson Pereira dos Santos already points to a horizon of social recovery. Leon Hirszman's ideological rigor, which avoids doctrinal traps, makes his film the most political of the three.


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