The term was first given to a pair of installations by Hélio Oiticica(currently on display on Level 3 of the Blavatnik Building), a song by Caetano Veloso, and an LP released in 1968, featuring artists such as Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa and the psychedelic band Os Mutantes. But according to Veloso, the catalyst for the flurry of creative activity at this time was Glauber Rocha’s landmark film Terra em Transe [Land in Anguish] 1967. In this film, wrote the singer, ‘one powerful image after another confirmed my impression that unconscious aspects of our reality were on the verge of being revealed.’
While Tropicália was cut down in its prime by Brazil’s repressive military dictatorship, its revolutionary gestures continued to make a mark on cinema in the following decades. Fifty years after its emergence, what is the legacy of Tropicália today?
And what is its effect on filmmaking in Brazil? In this weekend of screenings, we will have the opportunity to see a number of experimental narrative features from the 1960s and 1970s, each of which developed new perspectives on Brazil in a period of great uncertainty.
Such works indulged in pastiche, parody and a reflexive style of filmmaking that flirted with the kitsch products of Hollywood in a knowing way, offering a subtle critique of political and cultural dominance in its different forms.
Today, a new generation of young filmmakers looks back on Brazil’s national cinema, while at the same time creating work that responds to the various crises facing the country today: historical amnesia, drastic social inequality and ecological catastrophe.
This seven-screening programme offers a rare chance to see some of the films that defined tropicalist imaginary of the 60s and 70s, alongside contemporary works responding to, restoring or even resisting the legacy of the previous generation.
Tropicália and Beyond: Dialogues in Brazilian Film History is curated by Stefan Solomon with Tate Film, and presented in collaboration with the University of Reading
9–12 November 2017
Concessions available. A series ticket package for all three programmes is available for £35, concessions available. Visit a ticket desk or call +44 (0)20 7887 8888 to book
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