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Getting familiar with the very essence of tropicalism in Latin America

Perhaps, you hear about tropicalism for the first time, but this term is familiar to anyone who’s deeply interested in the history and culture of Latin America, especially Brazil. In simple terms, we can define tropicalism as a Brazilian pop culture, driven by avant-garde musicians, artists, writers, movie and theatre directors and so on.

Tropicalism appeared to be a sort of reaction to the ultraconservative neoliberal modernization of Brazil imposed by the military. The given culture rendered traditional, patriarchal cultures anachronistic by means of the most fashionable and advanced techniques. Tropicalism has created an allegory of Brazil, exposing a real historic abyss and a combination of different stages of capitalist development. We can add that tropicalism is a successful mixture of entertainment, reflection, carnival and fiesta.

The number one objective of tropicalism is to break its choking dependence on official patronage as well as ideological censorship and to exclude its paradoxical alliance with the authoritarian regime, simultaneously tackling the problem of how to make movies attractive to the public, while representing the interests of folks.

Cinema Novo directors played a significant role in the development of tropicalism in Brazil. They kept dominating the scene under the patronage of the cultural policies of Ernesto Geisel. In 1975, they managed to revitalize Embrafilme and gave birth to Funarte and Concine, specialized institutions dedicated to the arts promotion. Embrafilme’s budget edged up to $8 million from $600,000. By the way, it distributed up to 30% of Brazilian movies and also co-financed approximately 50% of the annual movie production.

The screen quota leapt to 140 days in 1980 from 42 days in 1959, while the overall share of Brazilian movies ascended to 30% in 1980 from 15% in 1974. The dilemma for moviemakers was whether these tangible virtues could offset the political costs of accepting the support of Brazil’s repressive regime of that time. The regime was mostly interested in the arts exactly as a universal tool of its modernizing policies.

Some moviemakers rejected Embrafilme as a mechanism of cultural control, while other movie creators such as Diegues, Rocha and Pereira dos Santos, who became sub-director of Embrafilme under Roberto Farias, were assured that Embrafilme appeared to be a way to confront the power of multinational corporations in this country.

Perhaps, you hear about tropicalism for the first time, but this term is familiar to anyone who’s deeply interested in the history and culture of Latin America, especially Brazil. In simple terms, we can define tropicalism as a Brazilian pop culture, driven by avant-garde musicians, artists, writers, movie and theatre directors and so on.

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100000705
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CREATED ON
July 11, 2016
COMPLETED ON
July 12, 2016
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$41
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