Chapter

Alumbramento , Friendship, and Failure: New Filmmaking in Brazil in the Twenty-First Century

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Abstract

This chapter provides insight into the new generation in Brazil who released their first feature films in the early years of the twenty-first century. It provides some context on Brazil's new movement of Garage Cinema which struck out in a new direction away from the Cinema da Retomada which characterized the second half of the 1990s, and sought to create a new digitally-inspired dramaturgy based on reduced production costs, alternative distribution outlets and a collectivist agenda. The chapter then moves on to a discussion of the failure experienced by some of the members of the Garage Cinema Generation on their journey towards success before turning to an analysis of the role played by the leitmotif of failure in the film Estrada para Ythaca/Road to Ythaca, directed by Luiz and Ricardo Pretti, Pedro Diógenes and Guto Parente, which won the Prize for Best Film at the Tiradentes Festival in 2010. In its Beckettian journey towards nowhere, and its allusion to ideas and events which are never made explicit (such as the mourning for an unnamed dead friend), Estrada para Ythaca is able to express the mood of the generation—enacting a drama which is elusive, unnameable and only present outside the space of the film, as encapsulated by Samuel Beckett's words in Westward ho: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

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This is the first in a series of books in which one of the most influential of contemporary art theorists revised from within the conceptions underlying the history of art. The author’s basic idea is that the rigor of linear perspective cannot encompass all of visual experience and that it could be said to generate an oppositional factor with which it interacts dialectically: the cloud. ---------- Hubert Damisch teaches at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Among his books published in English are Skyline: The Narcissistic City (Stanford, 2001) and A Childhood Memory by Piero della Francesca (Stanford, 2001). ---------- This is the first in a series of books in which one of the most influential of contemporary art theorists revised from within the conceptions underlying the history of art. The author’s basic idea is that the rigor of linear perspective cannot encompass all of visual experience and that it could be said to generate an oppositional factor with which it interacts dialectically: the cloud. On a literal level, this could be represented by the absence of the sky, as in Brunelleschi’s legendary first experiments with panels using perspective. Or it could be the vaporous swathes that Correggio uses to mediate between the viewer on earth and the heavenly prospect in his frescoed domes at Parma. Insofar as the cloud is a semiotic operator, interacting with the linear order of perspective, it also becomes a dynamic agent facilitating the creation of new types of pictorial space. (Damisch puts the signifer cloud between slashes to indicate that he deals with clouds as signs instead of realistic elements.) This way of looking at the history of painting is especially fruitful for the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but it is also valuable for looking at such junctures as the nineteenth century. For example, Damisch invokes Ruskin and Turner, who carry out both in theory and in practice a revision of the conditions of appearances of the cloud as a landscape feature. Even for the twentieth century, he has illuminating things to say about how his reading of cloud applies to the painters Leger and Batthus. In short, Damisch achieves a brilliant and systematic demonstration of a concept of semiotic interaction that touches some of the most crucial features of the Western art tradition. ---------- “First published in 1972, this book is perhaps the first and in many ways still one of the most challenging attempts to apply a consistent semiotic theory to the development of perspectival art from the Renaissance to the present day. By no means a period piece, it is a brilliant and systematic interaction that touches some of the most crucial features of the Western tradition.�—Stephen Bann, University of Bristol
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