List Art Center will play host to the movie festival CineBrasil Thursday through Saturday. Throughout the three-day event, five films spanning eclectic genres will play for the festival-goers.
The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and the Brazil Initiative, a Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs program that brings together faculty members, graduate students and researchers with the “mission to make Brown the best place to study Brazil outside of Brazil,” said Flora Thomson-DeVeaux GS, who studies in the department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and is a curator of the festival.
She added that when studying Brazil from Providence, there is often a disconnect pertaining to current events. “A part of that (mission) is to not let ourselves get caught up by structural delay that is involved when you’re studying a country from thousands of miles away,” Thomson-DeVeaux said.
The Brazil Initiative’s work on CineBrasil represents one effort to remedy this disconnect. The event, held sporadically in the past but now in its third consecutive year, shows films produced in Brazil within the past two years. This time frame allows the films to get off the festival circuit and pass, through word of mouth or other recommendations, into the awareness of CineBrasil’s curators, Thomson-DeVeaux said.
As the films are not often played in American cinemas, the festival offers attendees a rare viewing opportunity. “They’re not necessarily films that are going to be Oscar-nominated, and therefore, people don’t really have easy access to them,” said Director of the Brazil Initiative James Green.
The five films were selected by the festival’s two main curators, Thomson-DeVeaux and Pedro Almeida GS.
While the majority of the five films are in Portuguese, Brazil’s official language, and subtitled in English, two of the films break from this pattern. This choice was made to help festival attendees understand that not all Brazilian films are meant to edify viewers on the country’s culture.
“(CineBrasil) is really trying to move away from the idea that Brazilian cinema has any obligation to teach you about Brazil or to show you the way Brazil is,” Thomson-DeVeaux said. “There are wonderful Brazilian films made about all the countries of the world and all the topics you could imagine.”
The documentary “Taego Ãwa,” to be screened Friday, is spoken in the indigenous language Avá-Canoeira. The film focuses on the Avá-Canoeiro group, an indigenous people in Brazil that has faced hardships and seen a steady decline in population, Thomson-DeVeaux said. “Olmo e a Gaivota” (Olmo and the Seagull), to be screened on Saturday, is a Brazilian and French co-production set in Paris and spoken almost entirely in French.
The remaining films include “O futebol” (On Football) Saturday; “A paixão de JL” (JL’s Passion) Friday and “Boi Neon” (Neon Bull) Thursday.
“A paixão de JL” depicts the life of José Leonilson, a prolific artist whose daily artworks tell the story of his life alongside cassette tapes that the artist recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The film is a documentary in that the artist is reproducing an account of his life through the cassettes, but it is also fictional through the “fracturing distorted mirror” of the art form.
After watching each film, festival-goers will have the opportunity to discuss the work with professors and graduate students, Thomson-DeVeaux said.
CineBrasil is only one of the Brazil Initiative’s many programs and events that aim to bring the culture of Brazil to Brown. In the spring, the Initiative hosts a film series that features a variety of films — both recent and retrospective, Green said.