Glauber Rocha and “Hiroshima my love"

Rubens Gerchman, untitled


Note on an eclipsed love

Alain Resnais' first feature film, Hiroshima mon amour in 1959, he consolidated two salient traits of his already established career as a filmmaker: the dense relationship with literature and the thematization of collective traumas produced by the war. In previous films, he had already integrated into the soundtrack, with great aplomb, verses by Paul Éluard and Raymond Queneau in Guernica (1950) and Le chant du styrène (1958), as well as a prose text by Jean Cayrol in Night and Fog (1955). And he had already turned, in two of them, to particularly traumatic episodes in the history of the 1937th century: the destruction of Guernica by the Nazi-fascists, in XNUMX (in Guernica), and the Nazi concentration camps (in Night and Fog).

Insisting on this universe of questions, to which he would return in later films,[I] Resnais invites to a new literary partnership, this time around the bomb of Hiroshima (subject proposed by the producers), Marguerite Duras, a writer already recognized at the time, but little experienced in cinema. In close collaboration with the filmmaker and Gérard Jarlot, she writes a love story between a Japanese man, “an engineer or architect”, and a French actress (also traumatized, in her own country, by the Second World War), who was visiting Hiroshima to a film about peace.[ii]

The filmmaker uses it in a record that combines fiction about the couple of lovers and semi-documentary excerpts referring to the memory of the destruction caused by the bombing of the Japanese city. If the characters (especially the woman) dealt with the vital need to psychically work through the trauma of war in order to exorcise it, grieve and go on living, the film also seeks to invent a way capable of organizing the collective experience of that trauma. In it, the document and the imagination intertwine, the evocation of the past disaster and the meditation on what to do with it in the present.

An artistic work with such ambition and scope invites an infinity of approaches, from the most diverse angles, some of which are proposed in this dossier, from the point of view of the literary dimension of the film, of the fundamental contribution of Marguerite Duras to its construction, the innovative relationship between image and sound, his inventive way of facing the disasters of war, and so on.

In the text that follows, I return to a case of the critical reception of the film in Brazil that was waiting for a deeper examination. As you know, Hiroshima was one of the feature films with the greatest, most varied and most qualified critical fortune of the second post-war Europe, since its release in 1959, which provoked a passionate reaction in almost all critics. Like that produced in several other countries, his Brazilian critical fortune was also abundant and varied, as Alessandra Brum has already shown and discussed in her precious Doctoral Thesis, Hiroshima mon amour and critical reception in Brazil (2009), which examines the texts devoted to the film, in the heat of the moment, by 17 of the most important Brazilian critics at the time.

My discussion will consist of a footnote to the lasting contribution of Alessandra, whose option for the panorama in her in-depth research resulted in a general map of the critical reception of the film in Brazil, but prevented her from deepening the discussion of the approach of some of the chosen critics . Re-opening the dossier and re-examining in more detail the particular case of receiving Hiroshima by Glauber Rocha, my purpose here is to provide a more complete examination of his relationship with the film and its director, expanding its temporal arc and the set of texts to be discussed[iii].

In the following three sections, I will point out a movement, perceptible in the texts, from Glauber's initial enthusiasm (expressed in two articles entirely devoted to him) to a progressive distancing, which culminates in the curious absence of such articles from the summary of the century of cinema, his main book on world cinema.

Initial impact (with oscillations)

Headquartered in Salvador, active in the Bahian press, but already collaborating with the Sunday Supplement of the Newspapers in Brazil, Glauber saw the film for the first time between the end of September and mid-October 1960, after having referred to it, without having seen it, in at least 4 articles from June to October of that year, marked by echoes of the debates he raised in other Brazilian capitals[iv] and by texts published about him by his colleagues from other states.

From that moment on, his judgments about the film seem inflamed, oscillating, however, between strong praise for its form (or its editing in particular) and criticism of its literary dimension. Like this, Hiroshima would have integrated elements of Eisenstein's montage theory,[v] and its form would bring “ingenious and reformist advances”[vi], perhaps “a revolution”.[vii] But the dialogues by Marguerite Duras, “of the worst literature, according to what is said”, “strangle the spectator because of the bad literature they possess”.[viii]

On 2-3/10/1960, weeks before his first text devoted to the film, the Diário de Notícias publishes, in Salvador, without signature the note “O Filme novo: HIROSHIMA” [Fig. 1], republished almost in its entirety on 21-22/5/1961, under the title “A masterpiece of New wave” [Fig. 2], again without indication of authorship, on the same page where the second article by Glauber appears (to which I will return), this one signed with his initials GR Although it has been attributed to Glauber twice in recent works[ix], everything leads one to believe (including the slightly Glauberian style and approach), with the greatest plausibility, that that note is not from Glauber, who does not sign it in either version (the second is stamped alongside a signed text) , but from the newspaper's editorial office, and probably from Hamilton Correia, the critic and journalist responsible for its cinema section.

Figure 1. “The New Film: HIROSHIMA”. Diário de Notícias, 2-3/10/1960, 3rd Notebook, p. two
Figure 2. “The masterpiece of the Nouvelle Vague”. News, 21-22/5/1961, 3rd Notebook, p. 8.

In his first text about the film [Fig. 3], titled “First vision of Hiroshima"(Diário de Notícias, 23-24/10/1960) and divided into 5 sections, Glauber combines an attitude of critical humility towards the film (whose impact would require, at least initially, the provisional suspension of judgment) and an enthusiastic praise of its qualities, which he does not deprive himself of doing.

Figure 3. "First view of Hiroshima". Diário de Notícias, 23/24-10/1960, Arts and Letters Supplement, 3rd Notebook, p. 6 and 2.

This coexistence of two almost incompatible gestures of suspending judgment (uncommon in his texts at the time) and uttering it with emphasis, without skimping on superlatives, appears right away in the first section of the article, before reappearing in the third: “However, before from a first view of Hiroshima, mon amour, by Alain Resnais, I can record nothing more than “impressions”. Why Hiroshima leaves any viewer who sees it for the first time stunned. And we only begin to “discover” the film long after having seen it. It's dangerous to see Hiroshima. I, for example, am not ashamed to confess that watching Hiroshima it was one of my greatest human experiences. […] It would be in a second vision that we could conceptualize this film. But let's not criticize him. By the way, I can't criticize it so far. However, I need to talk about that apparently chaotic territory of images that is born surrounded by a beautiful text, prepared by Marguerite Duras. Does the film oscillate between image and text? This question assaults me several times. Frankly, I don't know the answer." (ROCHA, [1960e] 2019, p. 155)

In the continuation of the text, cautionary clauses reappear, such as “let's see how far I can go”, “I could be totally wrong”, “even confused and uncertain” and “no one can say the final word on Hiroshima. Not even Alain Resnais himself. Perhaps time can come to some conclusion.” But they do not prevent Glauber from advancing emphatic judgments and affirming the excellence of the film, preliminarily characterized in section II in ten brief formulas (some appreciative, others pejorative), of which the text seems to explore in the following sections the resonances of at least three, approaching the feature as “a literary film, or rather, an 'illustrated literature'”, as “an avant-garde film” and a film “that elevates cinema to the plane of philosophy”. The intrigue of Hiroshima in section IV, Glauber judges that “Alain Resnais not only made a film of ideas, or even a film that is a rehearsal of the most important drama of our time, but he also revolted the cinematographic form and inaugurated the modern film, in the parallel sense of the other arts, such as painting, poetry and music, increasingly distant from the narrative forms of the past. Alain Resnais is for cinema what he is for painting as the first artist to break with the academic school of painting. He is, in terms of relativity, like a James Joyce in literature, and it is he who, after Eisenstein, first puts into practice the theory of montage in cinema as a process for investigating human reality and as an instrument for metaphysical study”. (ROCHA, [1960e] 2019, p. 159)

After comparing the novelty of Resnais' film with those introduced by innovators from other arts (Joyce in literature, Eisenstein in cinema), Glauber extends the analogy to philosophy, and speaks of Resnais as "a philosopher of cinema", who "made camera a more powerful system for penetrating the problems of man and the world than the entire pyramid of verbal philosophy”. The film would thus constitute an operation of philosophical knowledge of the world, more powerful even than philosophy in the strict sense.

Such an operation would result less from the text by Duras (who would not be the true author of the film, but its “lateral spirit”) than from the direction of Resnais: “Is Resnais's camera the true creator – or scholar? - of everything. Resnais is a 'documentarist of the spirit', that is, a man who sees the mind of man and not the image. […] The framing is simple. But montage shatters time, bypasses continuity, shatters dead action, and focuses on total 'states' of revelation. Documentary, therefore, of the spirit and of the truth” (p. 160).

For all this, Glauber allows himself, again emphatically, to conclude that the film “realized the theories of 'ideal and absolute cinema'”. For those who initially waved a suspension of judgment, Glauber ends up making enthusiastic statements in this first text: the film would realize the theories of ideal and absolute cinema, would innovate as Eisenstein had already done in cinema and Joyce in literature, would make the camera philosophy more penetrating than written philosophy, would inaugurate modern cinema. The following texts, although laudatory, seem, however, more restrained.

In his second article devoted to the film, “Hiroshima: verbal-visual poem (polemic)”, also published in the Diário de Notícias (21-22/5/1961) [Fig. 4],[X] Glauber begins by saying that “this note does not intend to analyze Hiroshima, meu amor”, whose polemical character (motto of the newspaper page) he emphasizes at the outset.

Figure 4. “Hiroshima verb-visual poem (polemic)” News, 21/25 and 5/1961/3, Arts and Letters Supplement, 8rd Notebook, p. XNUMX). Signed in green by the initials GR, Glauber's text is in the side column on the right.

Afterwards, the Bahian critic reconsiders his position on the main authorship of the film, which he had attributed in the previous article to Resnais, but which he now attributes to Duras: “Particularly, although I support “cinema”, I believe that Marguerite Duras is the main author, since when the problem of the “film” is based on the dialogue and literary monologue of Emanuelle Riva, who declaims (and well) throughout the course, silencing only in the sequence of the corridor-bedroom-staircase of the hotel, when she goes and comes back. Although Alain Resnais's visual climate is the bridge to the drama's setting, it is not the communicative bridge. The images would be absolutely hermetic if they were not underlined by the text, even if sometimes an opposition between image and dialogue is revealed”. (ROCHA, [1961c] 2019, p. 162)

A complete inversion of his assessment, therefore, which he reiterates at the conclusion of the text, in the form of a paradox: “Alain Resnais is the greatest modern filmmaker I know, but the author of his film is Marguerite Duras, even dubious literature”. Here, the evaluation of Duras' text, described as “beautiful” in the previous article, and now called dubious literature, is inverted. This reserve in relation to the text sets the tone for this new article, which continues to emphasize the formal qualities of the film (editing, visual technique, use of tracking shots), but suggests limits in its lyrical use of “dramatic speech”, in the neurotic behavior of the characters and even in its narrative structure.

Its editing would bring an unprecedented contribution “since Eisenstein's great films”, but the lyricism of its “dramatic speech” would neutralize its political dimension, even if it did not manage to make it an “alienated” film. The construction of the two main characters would also reveal problems, that of the man due to the unjustifiable tranquility he presents in the face of the tragedy of the bomb, and that of the woman due to the neurosis, which “would assume a simple dimension of melodrama, were it not worked by the technique of Alain Resnais, a technique perfect in handling the cut and especially the tracking, his great element of film creation”.

Even to the celebrated narrative structure of the film “one could object that the processes (new 'in cinema') are already a conquest of modern fiction”. It would limit itself to transposing achievements of modern literature to cinema, without freeing cinema from the literary model: “The opposition of the interior monologue to the action, the interference of visual memory and the balance between past and present at the same time, although these are novelties” in the cinema”, are nothing more than a visualization of what fiction has accomplished. It doesn't matter that Joyce himself was influenced by the cinema, but it is repugnant that an art to be does not take off once and for all and becomes more and more attached to an art for exhaustion”. (ROCHA, [1961c] 2019, p. 163-4).

Abrupt, less successful in its writing and less clear in its arguments, this second article reveals, in any case, a certain ebb in Glauber's initial enthusiasm for the film, which he continues to praise, but which now also inspires some reservations in him.

Nuances and unfavorable comparisons

Without prejudice to the respect that Glauber continues to devote to Resnais and his film, such reservations also appear in the references to them present in his parallel and later texts, throughout the 1960s, dedicated to other objects. In these texts, Glauber says he followed Resnais carefully,[xi] and continues to mention him as if considering him one of the greatest modern French filmmakers[xii] or one of the most important representatives of European auteur cinema.[xiii] Moreover, in this decade as in the following, it is not uncommon to see him invoking his French colleague here and there when discussing other filmmakers.[xiv], including Brazilians such as Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, David Neves and even Humberto Mauro.[xv]

But his praise alternates with critical considerations,[xvi] and they are often tempered by some reflection, as in this long excerpt from “América Nuestra” (1969), an example of these oscillations, as it is full of conflicting observations about his films: “It can be said that the nouvelle vague created a bourgeois aesthetic par excellence. This was confused with the so-called auteur cinema, which in turn is confused with inefficiency. The only films from this school that were successful were for sexual reasons - and others like Hiroshima e The war is over [The war is over] by Resnais, or some by Truffaut – for some undeniable disruptive qualities. The Resnais rupture is pre-Joycean. What characterizes this extraordinary capacity of contemporary French people to criticize their creative incapacity. Resnais disarticulated time without articulating dialectics. His cinema could be dialectical if it weren't literary – I mean bourgeois – with the classic problem of conscience. And with snobbish and childish moralistic data like the love scenes in La guerre est finie, the exemplary “artistic” slutty. A weakness of Resnais: his actors. But he is a genius documentarian and he was a revitalizer of tracking in cinema. Night and Fog [night and fog] is a film with a dialectical structure and Take the memory of the world, an (anti-didactic) poem of great beauty. As the opening moments of Hiroshima. But how sad is your episode in Far from Vietnam. Last year in Marienbad [Last year in Marienbad] is an essay of an expressionist, literary masterpiece, subjugated to a neoliterate like Robbe-Grillet. But it is a fascinating film, although its apparent modernity hides a profound academicism. If Resnais were German, Marienbad it would be a masterpiece. There are brilliant tracking shots! Eisenstein would love Marienbad”. (ROCHA, [1969c] 2004, p. 168-9)

In the same passage, the “undeniable disruptive qualities” of Hiroshima they are described, however, as “pre-Joycean”. His disarticulation of time appears as incapable of articulating the dialectic due to its literary or bourgeois nature, tied to the problem of consciousness. The praise for his genius documentarism, his revitalization of travelling, the dialectical structure of Night and Fog, to the beauty of Take the memory of the world (1956) and the beginning of Hiroshima live with harsh criticism of The war is over (1966), the weakness of the actors, his episode of Far from Vietnam (1967). To crown the set of pendular considerations, each sentence about Marienbad mixes praise and criticism.

If this conviviality of contrasting evaluations tends to temper Glauber's initial enthusiasm for Hiroshima and its director, are also colored by the various texts in which Glauber establishes some form of comparison between Resnais and other filmmakers, who seem to have an advantage. Starting with a March 1961 article about an obscure American film, Studs Lonigan (Irving Lerner, 1960). in Hiroshima my love, by Alain Resnais. A brilliant film, a modern, revolutionary film, which is to cinema what Joyce is to literature: Studs Lonigan – B-class production, written and produced by veteran and irregular Philip Yordan and directed by Irving Lerner. I confess that since Eisenstein and Jean Vigo only The Killing e Killer's Kiss, by Kubrick, and later Hiroshima my love, were films that impressed me [both] as an aesthetic phenomenon”. (ROCHA, [1961a, p. 4] 2006a, p. 133)

In addition to revealing the enthusiasm for Lerner's film, the comparison also places Hiroshima at a high level of admiration for the critic. But when detailing it further on, Glauber suggests that the work with the interior monologue, the montage and the time are more daring in Lerner's film than in Resnais's: “The interior monologue, theorized by Eisenstein, until then a narrative resource of the literature, becomes, in the hands of Irving Lerner, an accomplished element much more than in the hands of Resnais. While the author of Hiroshima, meu amor goes back in time – and there is a handicap to interrupt the narrative, Irving Lerner uses a process similar to that of William Faulkner: he simultaneously narrates four elements: two actions – that of an excited Studs and that of a normal teacher; and “two consciences” – the teacher under Studs' troubled memory. Mounting is simultaneous and not parallel. And the fusion of sound and image too, all combined at the same time. Thus, in cinema, human consciousness is brought into the image. Alain Resnais only brought the memory”. (ROCHA, [1961a] 2006a, p. 136)

Lerner would have performed better than Resnais de Hiroshima the interior monologue, would have gone beyond Resnais' parallel montage into a simultaneous montage, and would have extended his representation of memory by a representation of consciousness.

In later comparisons between Resnais and other filmmakers he admired (Visconti, Buñuel, Straub & Huillet, Fellini), Glauber seems to reveal his preference for them. By defending, for example, still in 1961, Rocco and his brothers (Visconti, 1959), Glauber opposes the strength of his discourse apparently based on a conventional form to the explosive novelty of Resnais' film, whose modernity would not be superior to it, and whose limits he seeks to point out:[xvii] "Rocco – even though it is only considered a “masterpiece of traditional cinema” – is as modern in its stylistic character as it is Hiroshima mon amour – that, although it appears as a “new”, it is nothing more than – if analyzed structurally – a film that is “new in cinema”, but not “new for cinema”, that is, Resnais’ narrative processes are roman nouveau – added to chapters on Faulkner's timeless technique as still supported by Eisenstein's theory of the cinematic monologue, expounded in film form, when the Russian master was studying the adaptation of Ulysses of Joyce”. (ROCHA, [1961d] 2006a, p. 229).

The curious thing is that Glauber highlights the limitations of the novelty of the narrative process of Hiroshima reducing them to a transposition to cinema of processes inherited from literature – nouveau roman, Faulkner – or Eisenstein's theory of interior monologue, which in a way refers to his study of Joyce's literary procedures. Thus, although the comparison with literary and cinematic manifestations of scale tend to value Resnais, at the same time they seem to suggest that he did not go beyond a mere transposition of these previous contributions to the field of cinema, to whose internal development he would not have contributed significantly.

This idea becomes even clearer later on when Hiroshima is compared to Proust’s novel: “When Resnais broke with the current cinematographic time, he was just doing what the novel has already done since Proust: and as a posed problem – emphasizing memory & oblivion – we are still in Proust who transcends the cycle of time lost to the existence of Hiroshima. […] The revolutionary discourse is in the novels of the great authors – Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Stendhal, Proust, Joyce and Faulkner (to name half a representative dozen) and in the cinema it only begins to exist in Hiroshima, which is a consequence of the fictional experience and the despair of this narrative form, annihilated not only by the destinations to which it was led by the freedom of the word but also by the evidence of the communicative power of cinema, in terms of “social” and “perception”. . But if Hiroshima it is also valid because it is a film that brings to cinema the new narrative process – a method of human knowledge – Rocco it is valid because it unleashes knowledge in the apparently traditional language – at the same time destroying the well-behaved line of the old cinematographic chronology, imposing the sinuous line of the novel to the realization of the work”. (ROCHA, [1961d] 2006a, p. 229-30).

Resnais' prejudice in the comparison is clearer in the case of Buñuel. In an interview with Diva Múcio Teixeira on 29/7/1962, responding to a question about European cinema, Glauber contrasts Buñuel with Antonioni and Resnais, clearly signaling his preference for the Spanish filmmaker: “For me there is only one name in today's cinema Visconti's side: Luis Buñuel. Nazarin, Viridiana e exterminating angel are the most important films in the history of modern cinema. The delirium around Alain Resnais and Antonioni is violent, justifiable. Buñuel is not talked about much, precisely because he is deeper and less sensationalist. Critics argue all the time about Resnais and Antonioni. Criticism from France and Italy as well. But both are looking for problems that Buñuel already solved a long time ago. […] Not being a moralist and violating society with an increasingly strong anarchism, Buñuel does not lose himself in the self-mutilation of Antonioni and Resnais, both on the way to abstractionism. […] I believe that cinema is doing badly because the filmmaker wants to be putteur-en-scène. Cinema is fundamentally thought. If the author is a decadent dilettante bourgeois, he acts like Alain Resnais. If he is desperate and skeptical, he does like Antonioni. If he is a virile anarchist and an eternal left, he does it like Buñuel ”. (ROCHA, 1962a, p. 4).

This interview clearly marks Glauber's critical decision in favor of Buñuel, which is not only aesthetic but also political. It went through the 1960s without major shocks, as a letter to Jean-Claude Bernardet attests (Paris, 12/7/1967). In it, Glauber once again expresses his enthusiasm for the Spanish filmmaker (as well as his constant esteem for Godard), at the same time that he tempers his former respect for Resnais and others with some reserve: “I haven’t seen anything good, except the final death throes of the old cinema of Bergman, Antonioni, Resnais, Visconti. The attempt they make to be modern is suicidal” (ROCHA, [1967a] 1997, p.281). On the other hand, “I saw all of Buñuel. When we see the set of chien walked a Belle de Jour is that [he sees] that he is the best, the only undisturbed” (Idem, ib.).

This happens again a year later, in the article “The New Cinema in the World”. There, when discussing the stylistic figure of the “integral plan”, Glauber contrasts Buñuel and other filmmakers (more capable of undertaking it) with a group including Resnais (who would not have managed to fully achieve it). Like Antonioni, Bergman and Visconti, Resnais would fall short of the results obtained in this direction by Buñuel, Welles and Rossellini: “The conquest of a new language is just beginning, but the stage of discovering reality with a camera in hand is already overcome by the stage of analysis of reality by the integral plane. It is a mysterious territory that neither Antonioni, nor Bergman, nor Visconti, nor Resnais have yet penetrated, although they have manifested themselves in this sense. The only traditional (or modern) filmmakers capable of exercising this cinema are Buñuel, Welles and Rossellini, poets whose influence is increasingly felt in modern cinema, not because of their exotic characters, but rather because of the permanent unusualness of their works. Buñuel, before Rossellini, in A chien andalou, was already making modern cinema. Freedom of creation outside the industrial dictatorship”. (ROCHA, [1968a] 2006a, p. 345).

Later, when praising Jean-Marie Straub, Glauber returns to the issue of the integral plane, and opposes his way of exploring time to that of Resnais, who seems to lose out in the comparison: “The integral plane, in Straub, reaches its fullness. The film obeys the technique of a shot for each action or an idea for each shot. It is a succession of direct frontal planes, generally fixed, which are united by quick blends in black. The dialogue is delivered coldly, without adjectives, like a choral recitative. The actors barely move. Time is free, the film takes place in the present and the past. It cuts from the past to the present and back without Resnais' gimmicks or classic flashback techniques. Everything happens on screen. The dialogue, the text, the noises, the rare music, act simultaneously. Time (the enslaving notion of time) is abolished, the film IS”. (ROCHA, [1968a] 2006a, p. 350).

A few years later, in a notable tribute text to Fellini, Glauber stresses his greater freedom and autonomy than that of other “film-authors”, including Resnais: “Casanova is Fellini's moderate success, in a market of filmmakers, dominated by Bergman , Antonioni, Buñuel, Resnais etc., – with Fellini being the most expensive, the freest and the least committed to the rules of the game” (ROCHA, [1977] 2006a, p. 273).

Their differences aside, all these excerpts suggest, each one in its own way and based on its specific question, Glauber's preference for other filmmakers of whom Resnais appears as a disadvantaged comparison. Naturally, the simple inclusion of his name in a group of filmmakers who count (and therefore support comparison) always indicates the consideration he continues to deserve from Glauber, but his place in the comparisons makes it clear that the greater adherence of the Brazilian always has another address. .


From the 1970s onwards, Resnais and Hiroshima practically disappear from Glauber’s texts and statements, who seems to lose interest in the work of his French colleague, in favor of other filmmakers with whom he felt greater affinities – some already objects of his previous texts (Rossellini, Pasolini, Buñuel, Godard, Straub & Huillet), others turned into friends or invoked in interviews and statements (Bertolucci, Carmelo Bene, Miklos Jancso, Robert Kramer, Gutierrez Alea, etc.).[xviii]

This perhaps stems from his distance in relation to Resnais' films of the period – I don't remember, for example, his statements about Resnais' films after The war is over and to your sketch to Far from Vietnam - which he already disliked[xx]. But perhaps it is also due to the consolidation of his own cinema project from God and the devil in the land of the sun[xx], who rarely sought to explore the region of psychic interiority, or the internal time of consciousness. With the exception of Terra em transe,[xxx] possible echoes of Resnais are rare in his films, which do not invest in interiority, in flashback, in the exploration of layers of time, and therefore seem to have little to integrate with the general cinema program of the French colleague, as well as with the poetics of Hiroshima.

The ebb of Glauber's initial enthusiasm for Hiroshima culminates in his decision not to include his two articles about the film in the Century of Cinema summary,[xxiii] anthology of his texts on world cinema that he prepared before he died, although he never saw their posthumous publication two years later. Given the strong impact caused by the film on young Glauber, its exclusion of this pair of texts from the final summary of the book sounds strange, in whose pantheon the film could figure alongside other refreshing manifestations of modern cinema in the eyes of young Glauber. While this is not the only oddity of this summary,[xxiii] such an absence harms the book by unbalancing its structure a little, depriving the section “New wave” (the thinnest part of the volume) by a filmmaker who would strengthen his paintings in comparison with the previous sections (“Hollywood” and “Neo-Realism”, stronger and more varied), thus leaving French cinema poorly represented by texts of little significance about lesser filmmakers like Jules Dassin and Roger Vadim, unworthy of their discussions of Godard and Truffaut. Also mutilating the cast of his youthful praise for a strand of modern cinema that, in the transition from the 1950s to the 1960s, seemed to bring significant formal innovations (his texts on Kubrick and Irving Lerner remained, unaccompanied by his French counterpoint) . Ultimately creating the risk of an exaggerated view of his admiration for other filmmakers, by suppressing an object that at a given moment shared his attention and his critical stakes with them.


Be that as it may, this exclusion consummates the eclipse of Hiroshima in Glauber's intellectual itinerary. Following the time curve of his considerations about the film and its director allows us to rediscover a love of his childhood cinephilia, formulated in his resounding declaration that “watching Hiroshima It was one of my greatest human experiences.” But it also allows us to perceive how he was, over the years, eclipsed by other loves of maturity.

*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).

Originally published in the magazine Literature and society.


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ANONYMOUS. “The masterpiece of the Nouvelle Vague”. News, Salvador, May 21 and 22. 1961, Arts and Letters Supplement, 3rd Notebook, p. 8.

ARAUJO, Matthew. “About the sparse criticism of Glauber Rocha”. In: ROCHA, Glauber. Sparse criticism (1957-1965).

ARAÚJO, Mateus(org.). Belo Horizonte: Clóvis Salgado Foundation, 2019, p. 10-22.

BRUM, Alessandra. Hiroshima mon amour and critical reception in Brazil. Campinas: Ed. Unicamp, 2009.

HARD, Marguerite. Hiroshima mon amour [1960]. In: Duras: Romans, cinema, theater, a park 1943-1993. Paris: Gallimard Room, 1997, p. 533- 643.

LEUTRAT, Jean-Louis. Hiroshima mon amour: étude critique. Col. Synopsis. Paris: Nathan, 1994.

LIANDRAT-GUIGUES, Suzanne & LEUTRAT, Jean-Louis. Alain Resnais: Liaisons secretes, accords vagabonds. Paris: Cahiers du cinema, 2006.

ROCHA, Glauber. Knowledge of SM Eisenstein. [1960a]. Diário de Notícias. Salvador, 5 and 6 June. 1960, 3rd Notebook, Arts and Letters Supplement, p. 3 (republished in ROCHA, 2019, p. 172-85).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Elevator (or alcove): Louis Malle”. [1960b]. News. Salvador, 7 and 8 Aug. 1960, 3rd Notebook, Arts and Letters Supplement, p. 3 (republished in ROCHA, 2019, p. 150-4).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Soviet Storks or Fine Art Tyranny”. [1960c]. Newspapers in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, 27 Sept. 1960, Sunday Supplement, p. 8. (republished in ROCHA, 2019, p. 186-95).

ROCHA, Glauber. “The price of the idea” [1960d]. Diário de Notícias. Salvador, 9 and 10 Oct. 1960, 3rd Notebook, Arts and Letters Supplement, p. 6 (republished in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 129-33).

ROCHA, Glauber. “First view of Hiroshima” [1960e]. News Diary, 23 and 24 Oct. 1960, Arts and Letters Supplement, 3rd Notebook, p. 6 and 2 (republished in ROCHA, 2019, p. 155-60).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Studs: a brilliant film lost in Bahia (Tupy)” [1961a]. Diário de Notícias. Salvador, March 12 and 13. 1961, 2nd Notebook, Arts and Letters Supplement, p. 4 and 6 (republished under the title “A brilliant film”, in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 133-7).

ROCHA, Glauber. “The Cinema Process” [1961b]. Newspapers in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, 6 May. 1961, Sunday Supplement, p. 3 (republished under the title “The cinema 61 process”, in ROCHA, 2004, p. 43-50).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Hiroshima verbal-visual poem (polemic)” [1961c]. News. Salvador, 21 and 22 May. 1961, Arts and Letters Supplement, 3rd Notebook, p. 8 (republished in ROCHA, Glauber, 2019, p. 161-4).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Glauber Rocha / Exclusive for DN. He comments on Luchino Visconti's last tragedy: Rocco, Abel and Cain” [1961d]. Diário de Notícias. El Salvador, September 18th. 1961, 3rd Notebook, Arts and Letters Supplement, p. 2 and 6. (republished under the title “O Barroco Viscontiano” in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 229-36).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Two festivals and a Brazilian experience” [interview with Diva Múcio Teixeira] [1962a]. Diário de Notícias. El Salvador, July 29 1962, 3rd Notebook, Arts and Letters Supplement, p. 4.

ROCHA, Glauber. “The eclipse (the funeral space)” [1962b]. Diário de Notícias. Salvador, September 2nd and 3rd. 1962, 3rd Notebook, Arts and Letters Supplement, p. 3-4 (republished under the title “Funeral Space”, in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 249-53).

ROCHA, Glauber. “[Letter] to Paulo César Saraceni (April or May 1963)” [1963a]. In: ROCHA, 1997, p. 190-4.

ROCHA, Glauber. “Our Lord Buñuel” [1963b]. Sir. Rio de Janeiro, year 5, n. 52-53, Jun-Jul. 1963, p. 60-5 (republished under the title “The 10 Commandments of Luis Buñuel”, in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 170-85).

ROCHA, Glauber. Critical review of Brazilian cinema [1963c]. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 1963, 147 p. (reed. revised and enlarged. São Paulo: Cosac & Naify, 2003).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Dry Lives 64” [1964a]. In: New Cinema Revolution, 1981 (reed. 2004, p. 59-63).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Eight and a Half” [1964b]. Carioca diary. Rio de Janeiro, 24 Nov. 1964, p. 7 (republished in ROCHA, Glauber, 2019, p. 143-6).

ROCHA, Glauber. God and the devil in the land of the sun. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 1965.

ROCHA, Glauber. “Presentation: The Morality of a New Christ” [1966a]. In: KYROU, Ado (org..). Luis Buñuel. Trans. by José Sanz. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 1966, p. 1-8 (republished under the title “The moral of a new Christ”, in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 185-90).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Glauber and the speech of Cinema Novo” [1966b]. Newspapers in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, 14 Apr. 1966, Notebook B, p. 5 (republished under the title “The priest and the girl 66”, in ROCHA, 2004, p. 78-83).

ROCHA, Glauber. [Letter] to Jean-Claude Bernardet (12/7/1967) [1967a]. In: ROCHA, 1997, p. 280-2.

ROCHA, Glauber. Tricontinental 67. [1967b]. In: ROCHA, 2004, p. 104-9 (original publication: “Cela s'appelle aurore”. Cahiers du Cinéma, n. 195, Nov. 1967, p. 39-41).

ROCHA, Glauber. “The New Cinema in the World. [1968a]”. The Cruise. Year XL, n. 13, 30 Mar. 1968 (republished in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 343-52).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Cinema in the World II. Fritz Lang the Lion” [1968b]. The Cruise. Rio de Janeiro, year XL, n. 14, 6 Apr. 1968, p. 38-40 (republished under the title “Fritz Lang”, in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 44-9).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Glauber: el 'Trance' de América Latina” [interview with Federico de Cárdenas and René Capriles] [1969a]. Film Skills. Lima, no. 47, May-June. 1969, p. 34-48 (republished in Portuguese and under the title “O Trance da América Latina 69”, in ROCHA, 2004, p. 170-92).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Tropicalism, anthropology, myth, ideogram 69” [1969b]. In: Revolution of Cinema Novo, 1981 (reed. 2004, p. 150-4).

ROCHA, Glauber. “América Nuestra 69”. [1969c]. In: Revolution of Cinema Novo, 1981 (reed. 2004, p. 161-9).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Bad Movie or Miss Maciel”. The Quibbler. Rio de Janeiro, no. 76, 2 to 8 Dec. 1970, p. 20-1 (republished in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 145-8).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Glauber Fellini – Fellini is a woman, a wolf, a Persian cat (A thesis by Glauber Rocha)”. Vogue Man. São Paulo, August 1977, p. 54-60 (republished under the title “Glauber Fellini”, in ROCHA, 2006a, p. 253-74).

ROCHA, Glauber. “The Blind Man Who Saw Far Away 78”. Folha de São Paulo, 16 sep. 1978, Illustrated, p. 28 (republished in ROCHA, 2004, p. 367-9).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Age of the Earth: A Warning to Intellectuals” [1980a]. Folha de São Paulo, 9 Nov. 1980, p. 51.

ROCHA, Glauber. “Neves Eulálio David 80” [1980b]. in: Cinema Novo Revolution, 1981 (reed. 2004, p. 405-8).

ROCHA, Glauber. “Andrade De Pedro Joaquim 80” [1980c]. In: New Cinema Revolution, 1981 (reed. 2004, p. 441-6).

ROCHA, Glauber. new cinema revolution. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Alhambra; Embrafilme, 1981 (reed. revised and enlarged. São Paulo: Cosac & Naify, 2004).

ROCHA, Glauber. the century of cinema [2006a]. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Alhambra; Embrafilme, 1983 (reed. revised and enlarged. São Paulo: Cosac & Naify, 2006).

ROCHA, Glauber. letters to the world. BENTES, Ivana (org. and intr..). São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1997.

ROCHA, Glauber. Le siècle du cinema [2006b]. Trans. from Portugal to Mateus Araújo Silva. Ed. française établie by Cyril Béghin and Mateus Araújo Silva. La Crisnée: Yellow now; Magic cinema; Cosac & Naify, 2006.

ROCHA, Glauber. Sparse criticism (1957-1965). SILVA, Mateus Araújo (org.). Belo Horizonte: Clovis Salgado Foundation, 2019.

SILVA, Matthew Araujo. “Alain Resnais, cardiologist of sociability”. In: BORGES, Cristian; CAMPOS, Gabriela; AISENGART, Ines (eds.). Alain Resnais: the discreet revolution of memory. São Paulo; Rio de Janeiro: Banco do Brasil Cultural Center, 2008, p. 79-82.

SILVEIRA, Walter. “A film of transition”. In: ROCHA, Glauber. God and the devil in the land of the sun. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization, 1965, p. 173-82.

XAVIER, Ismail. "Preface". In: ROCHA, Glauber. the century of cinema (reed.). São Paulo: Cosac & Naify, 2006, p. 9-31.


[I] Muriel (1963) would evoke in her fiction the torture practiced by French soldiers in the Algerian War, and her episode “Claude Ridder” for the collective film Loin du Vietnam (1967) would discuss the American aggression in Vietnam in the 1960s and some of its consequences. less remembered congeners.

[ii] Published by Gallimard in 1960, a year after the film's release, Duras's text gained autonomy from the film, and can be examined as a literary piece in its own right. For background information on the genesis of the entire project (text and film), see DURAS (1997, esp. p. 530-1, 534 and 545) and LEUTRAT (1994, p. 31-7).

[iii] Glauber's relationship with the film goes far beyond what Alessandra explored in her precious study (cf. BRUM, 2009, especially p. 126-30), whose value does not diminish at all in the face of the deepening and possible rectifications suggested here in this case particular.

[iv] On 1/8/1960, Glauber received a letter from Nelson Pereira dos Santos with a long paragraph about the film, which was supposedly causing controversy in Rio, but whose importance and formal contributions Nelson highlighted with lively enthusiasm, in terms that probably informed the subsequent reading friend from Bahia (cf. ROCHA, 1997, p. 121-2). It would be interesting to examine closely which texts initially guided Glauber's view of Hiroshima (by Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes? José Lino Grünewald? Moniz Vianna?), but such an examination would require another study, for which Alessandra Brum's thesis would be an unavoidable starting point.

[v] More than that, the Resnais of Hiroshima would have been, as Glauber suggests in a programmatic essay on Eisenstein, the only modern filmmaker to take advantage of the foundation of his dialectical theory of montage, according to which a photogram (Thesis) would only gain its meaning (its synthesis ) in the collision with another opposite frame (antithesis) (cf. ROCHA, [1960a] 2019, p. 175).

[vi] “Cinema has entered a crisis of form and, with the exception of brilliant and reformist advances such as Hiroshima mon amour, by Alain Resnais, we have no other way than to seek humanity as the foundation of the film”. (ROCHA, [1960d] 2006a, p. 133)

[vii] “I haven't seen Hiroshima yet, but I already know, for example, that there are dialogues by Marguerite Duras – the worst literature, according to comments. Even if Hiroshima is a revolution, I think cinema needs to be rethought” (ROCHA, [1960c] 2019, p. 194).

[viii] “The new wave is a youth movement that I, as a young person, hate. It imitates the old badly, does not have the moral courage to break with the old form of film, and makes bad literature. Even in Hiroshima, meu amor, where Marguerite Duras’ dialogues strangle the viewer due to the bad literature they possess” (ROCHA, [1960b] 2019, p. 154).

[ix] In the profitable (but not always careful) book by BORGES, CAMPOS E AISENGART, in addition to appearing with the date changed with that of another text unequivocally authored by Glauber, this note that he never signed is attributed to him without any reservation clause (2008 , p. 33). Correcting the dating mistake, BRUM continues, however, endorsing such dubious attribution without further ado (2009, p. 126-7).

[X] Interestingly, this second article by Glauber devoted to Hiroshima went unnoticed by both BORGES, CAMPOS AND AISENGART (2008) and BRUM (2009), which limited their respective dossiers.

[xi] “Two French filmmakers that I follow closely: Resnais and Jacques Rivette” (ROCHA, [1969b] 2004, p. 153).

[xii] Often alongside Godard and Truffaut (cf. ROCHA, [1963b] 2006a, p. 173; [1966a] 2006a, p. 186; [1969a] 2004, p. 174; 1997, p. 194).

[xiii] In statements that quote him along with Antonioni (“I think that the great importance of Antonioni and Resnais are the final images of the old world – abstract images, men without souls, liquidated gestures, spaces that move and get lost in time eternally in circuit ”, ROCHA, [1962b] 2006a, p. 253; “in two more years, when the boçais are in the profession, we will already be making films as important as they are made in France today by Resnais and Antonioni”, (ROCHA, [1963a] 1997 , p. 194), or in larger enumerations that also include Bergman, Buñuel, Fellini, the French, etc. (cf. ROCHA, 1963c, p. 35 and 40; [1964a] 2004, p. 61; [1964b] 2019, p.144; [1977] 2006a, p.273).

[xiv] Thus, the treatment of time in Argentine cinema is criticized as “pre-Resnaisian” (cf. ROCHA, [1967b] 2004, p. 105), and its aestheticizing daydreams would hide, “in the imitations of Bergman, Antonioni and Resnais, the drama of the people, the drama of the pampas, the drama of the Martins Hierros de la vyda whose representative was Che…” (ROCHA, [1978] 2004, p. 368); Lang's use in M ​​of the sound of an image on top of another image without sound would anticipate Resnais (cf. ROCHA, [1968b] 2006a, p. 47); the editing of a film called Consciences Bought by a certain Timothy Anger would indirectly recall Last Year in Marienbad (cf. ROCHA, [1970] 2006a, p. 147).

[xv] The style of The priest and the girl (Joaquim Pedro, 1965) would inscribe him in a lineage of the great intimate filmmakers, among which Dreyer, Bresson, Resnais and Bergman (ROCHA, [1966] 2004,

  1. 82), which according to a later text would help Joaquim to filter his identification to Nelson Pereira dos Santos (ROCHA, [1980b] 2004, p. 445). Echoes of Resnais and his Hiroshima would also be present in Memórias de Helena (1969), the first feature by David Neves (ROCHA, [1980a] 2004, p. 407). As for Mauro, the montage of Ganga Bruta would foreshadow, or make the modern spectator think of the “speculative rhythm of a Resnais” (ROCHA, 1963c, p. 53).

[xvi] As in the text in which Glauber includes Hiroshima in the list of “great literary pieces illustrated in the image” that do not deserve, however, his adherence: “I hope that we do not consider good films to be good cinema commercial invoices: the best Hitchcock or great illustrated literary pieces in the image, as is the case of Fellini and Bergman (whose own literature, due to its hybrid character, is doubtful) and, to a certain extent, Hiroshima mon amour. When I say good, I am not denying these films, but just asking if they are really films” (ROCHA, [1961b] 2004, p. 47-8).

[xvii] Ismail Xavier (cf. 2006, p. 19-20) comments, with his usual lucidity, on the reasons for the privilege granted by Glauber to Visconti's film over Resnais'.

[xviii] In an article from 1980, a provocative statement by Glauber outlines an even more renewed canon: “with the exception of Godard, the Argentines Fernando Solanas and Fernando Birri, the Yankee Robert Kramer, the Germans Werner Schroeter and Hans Jürgen Syberberg, the cinema novo Brazyleyro, the Soviet Andrey Tarkovsky, the Cuban Tomaz Gutiérrez Alea, the Spaniard Carlos Saura, the Italian Carmelo Bene and very few other filmmakers, everything that is produced today in cinema is romantic theatrical garbage” (ROCHA, 1980a, p. 51).

[xx] I did not manage to do exhaustive research on the texts published by Glauber in the period, and the unpublished ones would heavily increase the task. In any case, rather than examining the totality of his writings, it is important here to point out Glauber's clear tendency to distance himself from Resnais.

[xx] Interestingly, and unlike his other exegetes, Walter da Silveira (1965, p. 180) suggests that the work with orality in Deus e o diabo is inspired by Resnais' sound experiments in Nuit et brouillard and Hiroshima mon amour, which seems unconvincing to me, just as a note by Glauber himself sounds strange, according to which he would have used, in one of the blocks of the film shown in Monte Santo, “the editing processes available to him – from Eisenstein to Resnais” (1965, p. 53, n. 10). Reviewing the sequences in question today, in the light of what we know of Resnais' films, it is difficult to detect any trace of the Frenchman's montage in them.

[xxx] Ismail Xavier (2006, p. 19) is quite right to point out the convergence of Terra em transe with Hiroshima in the complex relationship between image and sound or space and time, and we can add the importance in both of the protagonists' flow of consciousness, but In my view, the closeness ends there. The dramaturgy, tone and style of Terra em transe seem far from Resnais, even that of La guerre est finie, which has a more strictly political problematic and an intellectual protagonist divided between politics and love.

[xxiii] It is not easy to interpret such a decision. It would be insufficient to attribute it only to a possible lack of clippings of the two texts in Glauber's personal collection at the time of his organization of the originals. In fact, we do not find them in the list of his numerous published articles that Tempo Glauber sold to the MinC and transferred to the Cinemateca Brasileira already in our century, which suggests that the filmmaker did not have them within reach at that time. But if he then wanted to use them, it would not be difficult to locate and copy them, with the help of friends, in collections in Rio or Salvador...

[xxiii] By establishing a French edition of this book with Cyril Béghin in 2006, I had the opportunity not only to point out other oddities, but also to correct some of them (cf. our “Avant-propos” in ROCHA, 2006b, p. 10-1, and the summary of that edition on p. 331-3).

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