No, you haven't seen this movie before.

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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

To understand power in Brazil, it's no use looking at the US

An old magazine editor, now deceased, used to say that if you want to know what will happen to the publishing market in Brazil ten years from now, just look at the US market now. Following his motto, he made the right decisions – he made mistakes a few times, it is true, but he accumulated a balance beyond positive.

As for policy, deferred mirroring doesn't work. What happens in the land of Uncle Sam today will not happen again in the Land of the Sun tomorrow. Here, God and the devil clash in other ways. It is a fact that, for some time now, the stupidity of trumpism has served as a trailer for Bolsonarist boçality, but, in this case, what exists is mere imitation: the followers of the President of the Republic – who is still there, although he is no longer there – are just a disgusting plagiarism of the white supremacists who invaded the Capitol, more or less less like the chanchadas of Atlantis were a happy parody of Hollywood cinema.

That said, let's explain. The Brazilian publishing market, especially in the second half of the XNUMXth century, followed the model that worked in New York and surroundings: it copied the organization chart of companies, graphic solutions and even style manuals. Hence, if you need to anticipate one trend or another in the publishing market, it is worth looking for examples in the United States. In the universe of politics, everything is different: the form of the parties there does not compare with the tropical mess, not to mention the electoral rules, the background religious convictions, the coloring of racism, the culture. Therefore, to understand power in Brazil, there is no point in looking there.

 

It is worth looking at Argentina

Calm down, don't get mad. It does nothing to delete this text and change the subject. Like it or not, there is more to Buenos Aires in Brasilia than our colonized petulance dreams of. You hermanos they had Peronism there, we had Getulism here. We had a military dictatorship, so did they. Kirchnerism there, Lulism here. Yes, everyone knows that they are different things, Of course, but, Madre de Dios, how similar they are – they are similar, above all, when they contrast.

This does not mean that, looking at the Buenos Aires political scene, we can see what will happen to us in the near future. What exists between the two countries is a crisp, clumsy identity, which generates a general adherence through traits that, isolatedly, repel each other. It's like we're reversed drafts of each other – drafts that never came to a definitive version of anything. Brazil and Argentina are united by what differs, by opposites; above all, they become brothers because they suffer from analogous (homologous) torments that can never be resolved.

Nowadays, many of us, Brazilians, we have seen the film with pleasure Argentine, 1985 (available, for now, on Amazon Prime). Directed by Santiago Miter and starring Ricardo Darín, the feature film shows the judgment that, in 1985, condemned the top of the Armed Forces for serious violations of human rights during the dictatorship (1976-1983). Crimes of kidnapping, torture, murder and (mass) concealment of corpses were exposed and proven in court. On the merits of the accuser, public prosecutor Julio Strassera (Darín), Justice sent high-ranking tyrants to jail, including Rafael Videla. (Shortly afterwards, in 1990, Videla was released by President Menem, but in 1998 he returned to serve his life sentence. He died in prison in 2013.)

The film is a beauty. It won the Critics' Prize at the Venice Film Festival and should shine at next year's Oscars. With a linear narrative, to the point of being didactic, it follows what moviegoers would call “classic decoupage”: it has a beginning, middle and end, necessarily in that order. The costumes, the sets and even the cars vividly restore the look of the year in question, all naturally, without affectation. Thanks to a meticulous and even obsessive production, we go back four decades in time – and thank you.

For the Brazilian spectator, however, the high point is not the plastic care, but the political sense of the work. What matters is the contrast. Throughout the session, we asked ourselves endlessly: why there, in Argentina, did they put the torture commanders behind bars and, here, we wiped them?

Certainly, there are diverse and pertinent theories. “It's just that in Argentina the balance point is different”, once said a literary critic from São Paulo. In fact, here there is a considerable tendency to accommodate the irreconcilable, to amnesty the non-amnesty. In Brazil, it seems that even the State, as if it were an individual, deserves pardons, pardons and pats on the back. Impunity reigns as the only recipe for pacification.

And now? What is the moral of this article here? What is the right path: punish or forget? Unfortunately, it doesn't matter. Worst of all, it's all the same. The two drafts, Brazil and Argentina, differ in terms of scripts to match the outcome: in the end, they go equally wrong. Everything ends badly, even when it starts again.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of The superindustry of the imaginary (authentic).

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul.

 

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