Figurations of history in Glauber Rocha



Considerations on the filmic activity of the “historian” Glauber.

No one ignores the centrality of the question of History in Glauber Rocha's cinema, already discussed by his exegetes, notably by the best of them all, Ismail Xavier, who was always attentive to it in his various studies of the filmmaker, and dedicated an essay to him in 1987 very penetrating ("Glauber Rocha: the desire of History"),[I] to my knowledge the best overview ever written in any language about his work.

His films from the 1960s (both fictional and documentary) revisited episodes and decisive moments in the history of Brazil (the Canudos War and the decline of cangaço in God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun, the 1964 coup in earth in trance), or burning aspects of their social life (class conflicts in Barravento, urban or rural poverty in Maranhao 66 e The Dragon of Evil against the Holy Warrior, urban violence under the military dictatorship in Cancer, political demonstrations against her in 1968) treated from the perspective of History of the present, or immediate History, to remind us of a notion of Jean Lacouture invoked by Jean-Claude Bernardet and Alcides Ramos (1988, p. 62 ss). Each in their own way, they drew the image of an underdeveloped Brazil, seen in the form of the northeastern microcosm (sertão in God and the Devil e The Dragon of Evil, coastline in Barravento e Maranhao 66), northern (amazon amazon) or carioca (earth in trance, Cancer e 1968, filmed in Rio), in the heat of the present or in a recent past that condenses or refers to slightly older moments in the country's history.[ii]

Later films, made in exile or on their return to Brazil, continued to address historical issues or processes (an African popular revolution in Der Leone have sept heads, the agony of a former dictator in Spain in chopped heads, the Carnation Revolution in Portugal in the collective film The Guns and the People, in which Glauber participated in 1975, Italian left-wing social movements or the American defeat in Vietnam in Clear), when they did not directly and frontally address the History of Brazil in a long retrospective of five centuries (in the homonymous film) or in a shorter block with an interview by journalist Carlos Castello Branco about the foreign policy of the military dictatorship (in A age of earth).

Now, if in the passage from the 1960s to the 1970s the concern with History remained constant and fundamental in Glauber's cinema, the way of conceiving it and featuring it in the films seems, however, to have undergone an inflection. We will discuss here this change in the filmic activity of the “historian” Glauber, with the help of some examples, from four closely linked aspects: (1) the space-time expansion of the narrated universe, (2) the establishment of a cleavage, in the films, between a History represented by its narratives (with its own characters, actions and settings) and another parallel History evoked by the filmmaker in the sound interventions of his monologues over; (3) the rearrangement of the articulation between diachrony and synchrony in the historical perspective of the films, which transforms anachronism into a central element of Glauberian poetics in chopped heads, Clear e The Age of Earth; (4) The nature of the figurative elements of History, which gains a stylistic translation hitherto unheard of in Glauber's cinema, in the figure of overprinting.

Space-time expansion of the universe narrated

From Glauber's self-exile in 1969, the space-time arc of the historical processes depicted by his films expands. On the one hand, such processes expand their geographic borders, leaving Brazil and reaching the world, far beyond the Latin American scope already envisioned in earth in trance.

If, in the wake of the initial script (“America Nuestra – a terra em transe”),[iii] this film multiplied, in its political allegory, Hispanic-American names, references and characters (Eldorado, Porfírio Diaz, Júlio Fuentes, Fernandez, in addition to the dictatorships of Villaflores, Pancho Morales and “El Redentor”), its setting was still Rio de Janeiro. Contemporary January, its language was still Portuguese and its main historical reference, under the cover of the fictional country of Eldorado, was undoubtedly the 1964 coup in Brazil.

Der Leone, chopped heads e Clear (not to mention the Italian script of La Nascita I gave, written in 1974 and published posthumously in 1981, about Cyrus of Persia and Alexander of Macedon[iv]) take the next step and transcend once and for all the sphere of Brazilian History. Filmed in Congo Brazzaville in 1969, Der Leone shows a political revolution in an unspecified African country, whose black people manage to free themselves from the various white colonizers - English, French, German and Portuguese, all duly embodied by grotesque characters, and alluded to in the film's polyglot title. Resuming various elements of earth in trance, but shifting its historical reference to the Hispanic-American world, chopped heads takes place in the mountains of Catalonia, where an exiled Latin American dictator, Diaz II, lives his downfall and ends up assassinated. Spoken in Spanish, performed basically by Spanish actors (Francisco Rabal at the head), commented by Spanish songs, the film still refers to Eldorado, Alecrim and the Diaz dynasty (thus referring to earth in trance), but his universe is now basically located in the Hispanic world, and Hispanic American.

Clear is a film set in Rome in 1975, spoken mainly in Italian (but also in French, English and Portuguese), bringing together characters from various countries (Glauber Rocha and Juliet Berto at the forefront, playing their own roles) and meditating on world capitalism in 1975 from its analogy with the crisis of the Roman empire. The historical referent here is the capitalist world as a whole.

On his return to Brazil, after Di, Jorjamado and the television experience in the program Opening, Glauber reinserts, in age of earth, the History of Brazil in a broader universe of World History, beyond what they already did amazon amazon, earth in trance e The Dragon, which referred to the colonial or neocolonial context when approaching the geography or history of current Brazil.

amazon amazon started playing in a phrase over There is a text by Francisco de Orellana (who gave it the title) recounting his 1542 trip to the mighty river, before jumping into today's Amazon, with which the entire film will be concerned, not without some references to the region's past. earth in trance referred to discovery when revisited (9'54”-11′)[v] the scene of the First Mass (in which the Portuguese colonizer of yore interacts with his avatars in the present – ​​priest and conservative politician), the violence of the Conquistador incarnated in the present by Porfírio Diaz (authoritarian politician whose treatment lends him resonances of the colonial monarchy), the similarities between the Brazilian and Latin American historical background (due to the mix of characters and historical references from Brazil and Spanish-American countries in the film's plot, which thus expanded its representation of the 1964 coup in Brazil to the wider universe of history Latin America) and the dynamics of neo-colonial exploitation embodied by the multinational Explint. The Dragon reiterated the allusion to such dynamics by bringing a logo of the Shell indicating the international logic that governed that world shown there in the Bahian village of Milagres.

This insertion of the History of Brazil into World History reappears in the structure of age of earth, and is explicitly claimed there by the filmmaker at the end of his last and long monologue over dubbed by Ismail Xavier (1981, p.69) the “Sermão do Planalto”: “Brazil is a big country. Latin America, Africa, you can't think of just one country. We have to multinationalize, internationalize the world within an interdemocratic regime. With the great contribution of Christianity and other religions, all religions. Christianity and all religions are the same religions” (135′; transcribed in ROCHA, 1985, p.463).

But the historical processes thematized by the films also widen their temporal boundaries, going further and further back in human history. If the plot of God and the Devil it condensed 40 years of popular uprisings in the northeast (from the War of Canudos in 1897 to the decline of cangaço with the death of Lampião in 1938), until it jumps to a utopian future in the ending in which the montage makes the Sertão “turn” into the sea; if the Diaz combat newsreel in earth in trance described her biography from 1920 to 1957 (the plot of the film taking care of bringing her closer to 1964), the History addressed in later films completely changes scale.

The one in Eldorado covered by chopped heads describes an arc that goes from the XNUMXth to the mid-XNUMXth century. It is Glauber himself, after a long sequence that allegorically synthesizes it (and to which I will return later), who evokes it in a monologue over, in approximate Spanish: “In the pages of History, Eldorado was discovered in the 1910th century by Spanish navigators and initially developed thanks to the cultivation of sugar cane. A few years later black slaves arrived from Africa and the then viceroy built roads, a new port and conquered the territory of Alecrim, completely exterminating the local Indian civilization. […] The rebellions against the Spanish Crown were violently repressed and all the leaders were hanged and quartered in the public square. Centuries later, the first liberator, Emanuel Diaz, appeared. A very intelligent lawyer, influenced by the French Revolution and the ideas of the new American Republic, he organized the Secret Society for the Liberation of Eldorado. The idea set fire to the plantations and ten years later Eldorado proclaimed itself an independent monarchy. Emanuel Diaz placed the crown on his head and since then his descendants have cultivated the obsession with Power. When, in the Republican Revolution of 27, the entire Diaz dynasty was put to death, our hero, who escaped thanks to the help of an old black servant, did not take revenge on the people as a lesson. […] Since then Diaz [his son?] rose to power several times and was deposed several times and returned several times and will return” (50'30”-05'1985”; transcribed in ROCHA, 388, p. 9-XNUMX ).

Em Clear, the historical retrospect enunciated in another monologue over de Glauber mentions the Earth, “from the origins until today”, before listing events in World History from the Soviet Revolution: “The Earth, a small planet, poor from the origins until today. The rupture of the system with the Soviet Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, the Third World Revolution, the destruction of Nazism, the resurrection of fascism especially in Third World countries. The conquest of space, the harmonic disintegration of bourgeois art, the demystification of aesthetic, grotesque, expressionist, baroque paranoia. Portugal rediscovers the world” (73'36”-74'21”; transcribed in ROCHA, 1985, p. 430).

This broad retrospect reappears, even more disproportionately, in The Age of Earthin the long monologue over of the “Sermon on the Plateau”. Glauber alludes there to a “very primitive, very new” civilization in which Christ would have appeared, before attributing, textually, “twenty, thirty million, forty million, fifty million years” (ROCHA, 1985, p.461) , and to remake a vertiginous summary of the post-medieval West: “There are five hundred years of white, Portuguese, European civilization, mixed with Indians and blacks. And they are millennia beyond the measure of arithmetic times or mathematical madness […]. So civilization is very small, before Christ and after Christ. A technological development in Europe, economic, mercantilism, capitalism, neo-capitalism, socialism, transcapitalism, transsocialism, a whole despair of humanity in search of a perfect society. […] Religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants provoked explosions, navigations, wars. Christian invasions in North Africa. Spain, Portugal and England occupy America on the other side. Indians massacred, blacks imported. Wars of Independence, large estates, industries. […] Civil wars, uprisings, caudillos, wars, guerrillas, revolutions. Coups d'état, democracy, regressions, advances, setbacks, sacrifices, martyrdom. North America develops. American technological development brings civilization to the world of the 1917th century. The Soviet Revolution, the Soviet Revolution of 1985, led by Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, completely subverts the North American capitalist discourse. Meanwhile, the underdeveloped peoples of Latin America, Asia and Africa pay the price for the technological development of Europe and the United States. From capitalist Europe, from socialist Europe. From Catholic, Protestant, atheist Europe. From United States. Underdeveloped peoples are at the base of the pyramid. […] There will be a dialectical synthesis between capitalism and socialism. I'm sure of it. And in the Third World it would be the birth of the new, true democracy” (ROCHA, 461, p. 3-XNUMX).

Whether or not they find reinforcement in the History staged by the films from which they came, these three retrospectives given by Glauber in monologues over they cover several centuries and already thus dilate the historical time concerned by the films, in order to push their fiction into a terrain of longer duration.[vi]

History staged and History evoked

We see, then, that the expansion of the space-time arc covered by the films goes hand in hand with the entry into play, in their course, of historiographical monologues uttered by Glauber himself or by his representatives (as in the case of history of Brazil, to which I will return).

As a matter of fact, Glauber's films have always resorted to sound elements (songs, monologues over) to comment on their fictions or add layers of meaning to them. The traditional song at the end of Barravento (“I'm going to Bahia to see if money flows / if money doesn't flow, oh, God, oh / nobody dies of hunger”) commented on the gamble of the character Aruã, who left the community of Buraquinho to look for work in Salvador. Cordel's songs commented on the entire plot of God and the Devil, playing a very important dramatic role there. Paulo Martins' satirical newsreel about Porfírio Diaz revealed his political biography, which would otherwise remain unknown to us. the monologue over opening with an excerpt from Francisco de Orellana reporting his discovery of the Amazon River in 1542 provided us with historical information that the rest of amazon amazon would not give us more. The sung or recited monologues of the various characters in Der Leone they also brought retrospectives that commented on or enriched the representation of the colonial or neo-colonial conflicts at play.

but from chopped heads and the sound of Cancer in 1972, it is Glauber himself who lends his voice to monologues over that erupt, so to speak, “from the outside”, to evoke a History that does not necessarily coincide with the one that the film represented in its report, either to expand it, or to make explicit a historical framework that the film’s narrative did not bring. In this way, a cleavage is established between a History enacted in the films and another parallel History, evoked in the monologues. over from the filmmaker[vii]. It is in the relationship between these two poles (the staging and the evocation) that the historical discourse of his films begins to be defined.

Such cleavage creates, in some films, a temporal gap between what is staged and what is evoked. In chopped heads between the exile of old Diaz II staged in the film and the evocation in Glauber's voice of the History of Eldorado, which covers 4 centuries; In Clear between, on the one hand, the movement in Rome of 1975 of the allegorical characters, by Glauber and Juliet and, on the other, the verbal evocation by Glauber of decades of world history; In The Age of Earth, between, on the one hand, the wanderings of the 4 Christs and other characters through the cities of Brasília, Rio and Salvador and, on the other, the long historical retrospect evoked in Glauber's voice and already mentioned here. It also creates a political modulation between the images (“micropolitics”) of Cancer showing a crowded debate by intellectuals at MAM or a benefit event with artists and the evocations in over, by Glauber, from the (macropolitical) context of Brazil in 1968.

Finally, it creates a modulation, so to speak, “epistemic” between the History enacted in images and sounds (materialized, objectified before us) and the History enunciated by Glauber almost always in a very informal way, sometimes improvised when mixing the films. , always tending to gain a higher coefficient of subjectivity[viii] than the speech provided by the rest of the film. Glauber tends to mix it with references or situations of his own intimacy, to anchor it in his voice and body, to deliver his speech in the first person, as in Di: “the Di Cavalcanti I met in Bahia in 1958. Di Cavalcanti appeared there with Roberto Rossellini…” [7'08”]. Or how, to quote him once more, at the beginning of the “Sermão do plateau” in The Age of Earth: “On the day that… Pasolini, the great Italian poet, was murdered, I thought about filming the life of Christ in the third world …” [126′, transcribed in ROCHA, 1985, p.461].

Promotion of anachronism

The rearrangement in the 1970s of the articulation between diachrony and synchrony in the historical view of films gave way to a true poetics of anachronism in the figuration of History (in chopped heads e Clear), which punctually focuses on his first and only filmic exercise of strict diachronic historiography (history of Brazil) and leads to the transhistorical fresco by The Age of Earth. From chopped heads, a trans-epochal vision in the Glauberian figuration of History begins to become clearer, which tempers the diachrony of history of Brazil, translates into the superimposition of epochs within scenes of chopped heads e Clear, and is disseminated in the very conception of The Age of Earth.

Made with Marcos Medeiros from 1972 to 1974 (without reaching a final version that would satisfy Glauber and lead him to include it in his complete film oeuvre), history of Brazil proposed to elaborate a synthesis of almost 500 years of our history, from the discoveries to the beginning of the 1970s. After many production vicissitudes, the version that remains to us was finished in October 1974 in Rome, with around 150'. In a long first part of 117′ she brings, delivered in over by a male announcer (their friend Jirges Ristum), a retrospective of the main social, political, economic and cultural events of this history. Although it presents emphases, angles and sometimes peculiar formulations, which can generate some strangeness, such verbal retrospective observes a strict diachrony and tends towards a factualist approach to the History in question. His relationship with the band Imagem, however, produces a much more complex result, due to the constant disagreement between what the text says and what the image shows, composed of a varied set of Brazilian and even Latin American films, in addition to many photos, maps , illustrations etc. Frequently, verbal references to a given era coexist with images that refer to another, so that they overlap in a trans-epochal, or frankly anachronistic, result.

Right in the first shots of the film, for example, while the announcer refers to the European context that conditioned the development of navigations towards the New World (cultural revolution promoted by European mercantile capitalism culminating in the Renaissance of Quattrocento, taken from Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 blocking land routes to Asia and Africa), we see images of a miserable man in a hospital bed in São Luís do Maranhão taken from the documentary Maranhao 66, by Glauber himself. Thus, from the very beginning, historical processes from the European 1966th century coexist and a glimpse of Maranhão's misery in XNUMX, in a montage disjunction between image and sound that the film will never cease to reiterate, in order to combine the diachrony of its historical account verbal with a constant anachronistic impulse[ix].

Such an impulse already appeared clearly in Severed Heads.[X] In a long sequence [16'-27'], we see an allegorical representation of the Hispanic colonization process: embodying the King or at least the colonizer, and accompanied by two medieval knights (a Moor in a turban, another Christian in armour), Diaz II advances through a mountainous region until he encounters an Indian [Fig. 1], snatch from his hands to lift a golden stone in triumph and subdue him [Fig. two]. The anachronism of the scene is obvious, as it mixes the historical universe of the Crusades with that of the discoveries and colonization of America. Coming from different times and historical situations, the characters of the knights and the Amerindian coexist in the same scene and on the same plane, all submitted to the will of Diaz II.

Subjected to Diaz II, the Indian will in turn subdue a man dressed in 15th century white clothes (worker?), and both will close ranks with the colonizers in a later scene that accentuates the effect of anachronism, when confronting this multi-secular quintet with a group of about 3 men from the 4th century, armed with rifles (guerrillas? workers? mercenaries?), and brought in the back of a truck [Fig. XNUMX]. The shot of the advancing truck alternates, in shots against shots, with the image of Diaz II and his supporters [Fig. XNUMX]. A confrontation is designed in the alternation of fields on one side, and reverse fields on the other.

One of the men with a rifle gets out of the truck and walks towards the camera, as if preparing a duel with Diaz II. He enters the frame on horseback [Fig. 5], he strips his opponent of his rifle with a sword stroke, before the Indian and the man in white point weapons at his head, surrendering him [Fig. 6]. A shot in reverse now shows only the opponents shooting from the truck [Fig. 7], until, in the most strongly anti-realistic shot of the sequence, Diaz II and his group, in slow motion, to the sound of a kind of siren accompanied by bursts of gunfire, advance in the frame towards the opponents' truck [Fig. 8], to attack them with their weapons (spears, swords, rifles), also coming from different eras.

A completely anachronistic figuration of a trans-epochal confrontation is thus consummated between, on the one hand, the figure of the King and his vassals, which hark back to the period of the crusades, overseas expansion and the colonization of Latin America, and, on the other, a group of opponents certainly emerged from the 1970th century, if not from the XNUMXs.

Em Clear, right in the background, we see Juliet Berto at the Roman Forum, wearing a brown poncho with a beige pattern, which makes one think of Latin America. In its surroundings, tourists visiting the place seem surprised and attentive to Glauber's shouting off-camera, whose sounds refer to some Amerindian language. Juliet responds with equally indecipherable screams, mimicking that language, in an extravagant duet that continues (with or without screaming) to the vicinity of the Coliseum, and completely steals the attention of tourists at various points along the way [Figures 9 to 12].

Thus, four historical realities coexist in the same happening trans-epochal: the present of the artists and the tourists who observe them in 1975, the past of imperial Rome to which the ruins of the Forum and the Coliseum refer both the visitors on stage and the spectators of the film, the Latin American world of which the poncho functions as a metonym, and more precisely the Amerindian civilization suggested by the song of Glauber and Juliet. Center and periphery, empire and new world, colonizer and colonized thus coexist in a single scene, which operates a remarkable superimposition of historical times and gives anachronism all its power of meaning.

Such superimposition would certainly have been suggested to Glauber by the city of Rome itself, whose variety of historical layers invites the visitor to exercise trans-epochal reasoning, an almost inevitable reflection of anyone who walks through the city and sees himself passing from ancient Rome to modern Rome all the time. and vice versa. But it also configures an attentive dialogue with two Roman films by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet (Eyes don't always want to close or maybe one day Rome will allow itself to make its choice, by 1969, and History Lessons, 1972), who built a true poetics of anachronism, when they staged in 1969, close to the Forum, on Palatine Hill, the play Othon (1664) by Pierre Corneille, whose plot takes place in the 1972st century AD, or in XNUMX, from the unfinished novel by Bertolt Brecht The Business of Julius Caesar (1938-9), conversations between a man of today and contemporaries of Julius Caesar, dressed in costume, whom he goes to look for, by car, crossing Rome in 1972.

This promotion of anachronism in chopped heads, history of Brazil e Clear will end up leading to one of Glauber's most complex films in spatio-temporal terms, his last The Age of Earth. There, the very premise of the project rests on the anachronistic staging, in the middle of Brazil at the end of the 70s, of the figure of Christ, refracted in four different characters – an Indian Christ, a black Christ, a guerrilla Christ and a military Christ.

Apart from the setting in present-day Brazil (Rio, Brasília and Salvador) and some allusions allowing the plot to be placed in the late 70s (reference to Jimmy Carter, interview with Carlos Castello Branco about the foreign policy of the military regime until the Geisel government, etc. .), the movement of the Christs and other characters in the respective cities does not draw a clear chronology. From the beginning of the film, we notice spectacular variations in the temporal scale itself: the initial image of the sunrise at the Palácio da Alvorada in Brasília is followed by a syncretic cosmogonic ritual full of Amerindian resonances (but with Christ's speeches in Portuguese), which leads transition to the parade of some Samba Schools from the 1978 Rio Carnival on Av. Marquês de Sapucaí, which will be followed by an interview in Brasília with journalist Carlos Castello Branco on the foreign policy of the military regime after the 1964 coup. to perceive in all its unfolding a temporal regime that tended to banish diachrony, the elements shown being organized as a kind of fresco or mural about Brazil's vocation to renew Western civilization[xi].

And if I speak here of murals, I am thinking of Mexico and more specifically of the Eisensteinian project of Que Viva Mexico!, which fueled the entire genesis of age of earth, from a preliminary version of the project submitted in 1974 in English to the Mexican government (which declined to finance it) as an adaptation of Eisenstein's script[xii], until its translation named Anabaziz – the first day of the new century”, dated 16/3/1977 and presented as the “first treatment” of the film[xiii], which would be shot in 1977-79. Eisenstein's script, which did not result in a film he finished, already announced in the prologue a continuous transit between different eras: “the time of the prologue is eternity. It could be today. It could have been twenty years ago. It could have been a thousand years ago” (Eisenstein, 1964, p.66), said a passage kept in the version reconstructed by Grigory Alexandrov (5'37” – 5'53”).[xiv] Now mutatis mutandis, such an observation would apply to The Age of Earth, with its space-time jumps between the immemorial and the conjunctural, between the “bird of eternity”, whose existence is denied by the Indian Christ in the initial cosmogony, and the “cloaca of the universe” that the military Christ sees in Brazil at the end of the 1970's.

Overprinting as a stylistic figure in synchronic history

In effect in some of Glauber's mature films, this synchronic view of History gains a stylistic translation hitherto unheard of in his cinema in the form of overprinting. In this, the arsenal of metaphors of History (notably discussed by Ismail Xavier) came mainly from the represented world, in the figure of a natural phenomenon (the barravento in the homonymous film, referring to nature but extending to History), of a construct of consciousness (the prophecy according to which the sertão will turn into the sea in God and the Devil), a psychic state (the trance in Terra em Transe), a bodily illness (Cancer in the homonymous film), . In the films made after exile, the conception of history continues to mobilize Glauber's constant procedure of the disjunction between sound and image (as we saw in História do Brasil), but it gains a new, properly formal figure, in the overprinting of images.

Hitherto absent from Glauber's cinema, the overprint translates the overlapping of historical times and spaces in the world represented by the films, and seems to indicate the coexistence of temporal layers even within the present. Its first appearance, if I am not mistaken, takes place in the core of Clear, in a scene of a public staircase in Rome over which the cover of the newspaper is superimposed Daily American of 30/4/1975 whose main headline announces the surrender of Saigon and the American defeat in the Vietnam War [Fig. 13].

13 - Sure (1975)

Thus, world history and the personal adventure of the couple Glauber / Juliet Berto (she is seen in the image, with her brown poncho), the Vietnam War and Rome or, more precisely, the defeat of American imperialism in 1975 and the decadence of of the Roman Empire, evoked several times in the speeches of Glauber and Juliet. The coexistence of these diverse historical realities, in the present view of the film, is thus both spatial and temporal. Image overprint takes care of translating it visually.

Later, near the end of the film, a second use of overprinting goes even further and deeper in an exceptional sequence (86′-95′), which shows us a visit by Glauber, Juliet and another girl to an irregular occupation in the neighborhood from São Basilio, on the outskirts of Rome, from a community of poor people from several generations, who had been suffering constant siege by the police, as Juliet Berto, a political activist, tells us in an earlier scene. In this kind of Happening of political solidarity, Glauber arrives at that place very agitated, gesticulating a lot and talking to many people there, who receive him as an ally, but with a curiosity that does not exclude some reservation and some strangeness. He seeks to interact, talks a lot but prevents people from developing their reasoning. His nervous approach doesn't give everyone time to express themselves, a bit like what happens in The Guns and the People, whose interviews our sister follows, and a bit like it will happen in almost all of his interviews for the program Opening in 1979.

At 92', six minutes after the beginning of the sequence, the mix covers the sound of the speeches with Villa-Lobos's Bachiana that until then coexisted with them, and the images of the visit now appear superimposed on each other, in two and sometimes three layers. This occurs at a time during the visit when the picture is less saturated than before and people are a little less in the visual field when we see Glauber, Juliet and the other girl wandering around. But the overprints make coexist, in the same image, human figures of different visual consistency (some very diaphanous, others more solid, others completely elusive), as if cinema should take part, in its figurative power, in the construction of a possible community in that historical circumstance, adding a figurative promise of sociability to the image of the threatened community. Or as if the cinema could broaden with its specters the field of possibilities of the political struggle in the present, which also bears several layers of historicity. In any case, the real community of that occupation is prolonged, duplicated, “reinforced” by a community glimpsed in the overprinted image, which brings children, old people, etc. [Figures 14 to 16]. Reality and promise seem to overlap, in an ontological modality of that political struggle.

In some images, Glauber appears duplicated in the frame, as if acting with himself as a puppeteer of himself, acting at the same time as an actor, observer and agent of that political movement. With open arms, he presents himself frontally to the camera as an agitator, an agent of that Happening. In profile, he seems to be inspecting its effect, his arm overlapping the superimposed images of himself and Juliet, as if manually controlling their respective movements [Figure 17].


Central in the 1960s, the issue of History continued to be so in Glauber's cinema in the 1970s.Kairos“, the propitious moment, reacting quickly to requests from the world that demanded his intervention, in a gradation of urgencies that it would not be idle to outline.

There were the most immediate urgencies, in the face of which it was “take it or leave it”, filming in the heat of the moment or missing the occasion forever: the historic 1968 marches against the Dictatorship in Rio (filmed in 1968), the Carnation Revolution in Portugal in 1974 (The Guns and the People), marches and rallies of the Roman left in 1975 (Clear), the death of Di Cavalcanti in 1976 (Di).

There were the ambitious, more meditated projects, with a longer gestation, which did not fail to respond to decisive situations that required their intervention: the socialist revolution that was thought to be imminent in 1963 in Brazil and demanded participation (God and the Devil), the 1964 civil-military coup in Brazil, still recent, which demanded at the same time response, resistance and reflection (earth in trance), the cycle of decolonization movements in Africa with which it was necessary to express artistic solidarity (Der Leone), the glimpse of a political opening in Brazil to be prepared with long-term historical balance sheets (history of Brazil), democratic agitation (the program Opening) and historical-anthropological meditation effort (The Age of Earth).

And there were even occasions to make viable projects that in some way interested the filmmaker, allowing him to deal with themes that were dear to him (Barravento, Jorjamado at the Movies), or invest in technical experiments (the color in amazon amazon, the direct sound in Maranhao 66 and Dragon, the sequence plan in Cancer), or even returning with a new angle to universes he had already approached (The Dragon resuming God and the Devil, chopped heads resuming earth in trance).

If, as well as its permeability to dialogue with other filmmakers,[xv] her posture of availability for external stimuli remained strong, which in itself helps to explain the inflection that we have tried to characterize here. Leaving Brazil, Glauber reoriented his dramaturgical universe in tricontinental films, extending it to Africa, the Hispanic world and a West of syncretized Christianity. The preparation with Marcos Magalhães de history of Brazil, which demanded laborious research covering five hundred years of this History, and the elaboration of the script for The Birth of the Gods, which also required some research into ancient history, changed the scale of his historical inquiries for good.[xvi]. The spatial enlargement was thus accompanied by a temporal enlargement of his world, in a growing effort of totalization that aims at the macro level but also descends to the micro level, including the sphere of the subject in his films, in which he opens a cleavage between what is historical in the staging and what is historical in the filmmaker's reflection aloud.

In the relationship between staging and reflection, diachrony and synchrony are rearranged, the latter becoming more salient, the former tending to leave the scene in late films, to survive residually in the monologues over of the filmmaker or his representatives. If it was still in effect Barravento ao Der Leone (despite being upset at earth in trance, whose narrative brought discontinuities, flashbacks, comings and goings) the diachrony weakens in chopped heads e Cancer (assembled in 1972), is complexified in history of Brazil to practically disappear in Clear e The Age of Earth, in which the performance of the actors does not draw a clear chronology. However, in these films from the 70s, the diachrony that had disappeared from the staging reappears in the monologues, in a curious inversion of signs, while the image band promotes anachronism and welcomes a new figure of synchronic history, hitherto unprecedented in Glauber's cinema: the image overlay.

*Matthew Araújo Professor of Theory and History of Cinema at the School of Communication and Arts at USP. He edited, among others, the book Glauber Rocha/Nelson Rodrigues (Magic Cinéma publisher).

Text read on 1/12/2016, at the I International Colloquium “Cinema e História” (ECA-USP, 2016), and published in AGUIAR, Carolina A.; CARVALHO, Danielle C; MORETTIN, Eduardo; MONTEIRO, Lúcia R. and ADAMATTI, Margarida (Org.). Film and History:
circularities, archives and aesthetic experience. Porto Alegre: Sulina, 2017, p. 62-89.


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[I] First published in French translation for the collective book Le Cinéma Brésilien (Paris: Center Pompidou, 1987), edited by Paulo Paranaguá, and only much later in the Portuguese original, collected in the booklet Modern Brazilian Cinema (São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2001). From this exemplary text, to which they owe so much, my notes are intended as an addendum and a tribute.

[ii]God and the Devil condensed a history of popular uprisings in Brazil, enacting two of its most emblematic defeats, the War of Canudos (1897) and the end of cangaço (1938), and envisioning a socialist revolution figured in the prophecy according to which “The sertão will turn into sea ”. earth in trance reported a few minutes or a few hours of the outbreak, in an imaginary country, of a coup d'état (whose referent was 1964 in Brazil), extended by flashbacks covering a period of some previous years, and referring to a colonial historical formation.

[iii] For a fruitful discussion of the various versions of this 1965-6 script never filmed as such, and the partial integrations of elements from it into earth in trance and in later films, see Avellar (1981).

[iv] In October 1973, RAI invited Glauber to make a historical film based on the Cyropedia and Anabasis of Xenophon, in the wake of others that Rossellini was already doing, among which one on Socrates. Talk goes on, adjustment comes, he studies ancient history a little and writes in the first five months of 1974 a script entitled The Birth of the Gods (La Nascita I gave) for a six-hour film, divided into two parts, one around Cyrus of Persia (“Cyrus, Moon of the East”), the other around Alexander of Macedon (356-323 BC), “Alexander , the Sun of the West”. In a delightful letter dated 6/1/1974 to Zelito Viana, Glauber describes the general lines of the initial argument he had outlined, indicating at the same time the matters he intended to address and the envisaged way of approaching them (ROCHA, 1997, p.477 ). Never filmed, his Italian script was published posthumously in Italy (Torino, ERI, 1981). Never translated outside of Italy, where it raised very little discussion, unless I am mistaken, no one has written about this script, in Brazil as well as in France and in the English-speaking world, which thus remains practically virgin in the world's bibliography. Its examination still awaits a collaborative work between a scholar of Glauber and a Hellenist.

[v] I consulted and will cite Glauber's films in the DVD copies released in the Brazilian market by the partnership Tempo Glauber / Versátil or, in the case of chopped heads e Clear, in those broadcast by Cinemateca Brasileira in 2002 from their headquarters, for Duvaldo Bamonte's research at ECA-USP.

[vi] What does not occur in the case, for example, of his two monologues over em Cancer, which limited themselves to circumscribing and anchoring the time of filming (if not fiction) in the turbulent year of 1968, or another in Di which limited itself to evoking his encounters with the painter over a period of 13 years (from 1958 to 1971),

[vii] Radicalizing something that had been insinuated in a block towards the end of the evil dragon (78'12”- 91'42”), in which a long cordel song recounted, at 4 or 5 short intervals, Lampião's tumultuous attempt to enter hell after his death (mythical story with no direct narrative relation to the one staged in the movie).

[viii] To this kind of subjectivated History, in which the collective and individual, political and personal spheres interpenetrate, we could perhaps associate a neologism that Glauber began to use in the second half of the 70s, with the peculiar spelling adopted by him at that time: “Heustórya ”, or “Heuztórya”, which in some texts replaces the noun “History” in order to inscribe the I in its sphere. In this respect, see his letter of 3/1/1976 to Cacá Diegues (ROCHA, 1997, p.574) and some occurrences of the neologism in later texts of the Century of Cinema (cf. ROCHA, 2006, p.49, 150, 166, 167 and 259). In my French translation of Century, faced with the difficulty brought about by the neologism and its variants, I adopted a solution with a Godardian flavor, translating it by the French neologism “Hist(m)oire”, taking into account a very similar concern of Godard at the time in articulating collective History with individual experience. In Episode 1 of your series France Tour Détour: deux enfants (1977) carried out with Anne-Marie Miéville, the authors even propose a succession of signs in which we read “Histoire / toi / moi” [21'32”- 23'46”], two years after they were used in deux number (1975) the signs “Polítique / Histoire” [64'54”- 65′] at the beginning of a long statement by an old militant about his personal itinerary in the political struggle.

[ix] The reader will find a more detailed discussion of this and other aspects of history of Brazil in CARDOSO (2007) and FONSECA (2008).

[X] Each in their own way, XAVIER (2001, p. 133) and LEITE NETO (2016, p.156) already pointed out the importance of anachronism in the poetics of Dragon and it wouldn't be abusive to go back with them to earlier films.

[xi] I return here to an acute analysis by Ismail Xavier (1981), still today the most lucid analysis ever published on the film.

[xii] This project of filming the Eisensteinian script in Mexico is discussed by GOMES (1997, p.273-80) and alluded to in a letter from Glauber to Paulo Emilio dated 15/1/1976 (cf. ROCHA, 1997, p.586). I briefly comment on it in another study (cf. ARAÚJO, 2014, p.212-4 and passim), in which I discuss the massive importance of Eisenstein for Glauber's work.

[xiii] Reproduced in ROCHA, 1985, p.193-235, with final considerations on p.235-6.

[xiv] Consulted and cited here in the DVD version of Continental Home Video, released in the Brazilian market.

[xv] With Godard for including himself in the sphere of the representation of History, with Straub and Huillet for promoting anachronism in such representation, and with Eisenstein for the trans-epochal approach in dealing with the History of civilization. For a more detailed discussion on Glauber's relationship with the work of these colleagues, see 4 of my studies (ARAÚJO SILVA, 2007 and 2012; ARAÚJO, 2014 and 2015)

[xvi] Be that as it may, it is worth pointing out a curious convergence of this movement by the mature Glauber with another, analogous one, by one of his most important colleagues in Brazil. What Glauber does with his Social History will echo, mutatis mutandis, in what more recently Júlio Bressane did with his cultural history, expanding the paideuma that had been building the arts in Brazil (a synchronic pantheon in which Machado de Assis, Antônio Vieira, Oswald de Andrade, Haroldo de Campos, Lamartine Babo, Noel Rosa, Caetano Veloso, Mário Reis, etc.) mankind – Cleopatra, Saint Jerome and Nietzsche.

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