Born in São Paulo in 1928, Brazilian filmmaker Nelson Pereira dos Santos has been one of the most significant and influential filmmakers over the last half century. Inspired by neorealism, dos Santos forged the beginnings of a new, politically engaged Brazilian cinema in the 1950s with films such as Rio, 40 Graus (1956) and Rio, Zona Norte (1957) that brought the lives and neighborhoods of Rio's urban poor to the screen. In Vidas Secas (1963), his first masterpiece, he brought poetic dignity to migrant workers displaced by drought and famine and paved the way for the radical Cinema Novo movement to come. In the decades to follow, dos Santos' expansive vision of a populist cinema found him exploring marginalized cultural and religious practices on screen as he honed his critique of official repression and colonialism across a range of genres, from ethnographically-informed period pieces such as How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman (1972) to wildly comic satires, such as Tent of Miracles (1977). The Archive is honored to host dos Santos in person on the opening weekend of this modest sampling from his monumental career.
All films in Portuguese with English subtitles, except where noted. All films written and directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos.
Special thanks to: Karin Nielsen, director UCLA Latin American Institute; David Arriaza; Kevin Terraciano—UCLA Latin American Institute; Randal Johnson, chair—UCLA Department of Spanish and Portuguese; UCLA Center for Brazilian Studies; Consul-General Bruno Bath, Dolival de Lobao Carvalho, Cultural Affairs—Consulate General of Brazil in Los Angeles; Academia Brasileira de Letras; Jon Vickers—Indiana University Cinema; Darlene Sadlier—Indiana University; Chris Stults—Wexner Center for the Arts; Jerry Carlson—The City College of New York; Haden Guest—Harvard Film Archive.