This project is being proposed under the aegis of the RCUK-FAPESP MoU, whose aim is to strengthen research links between the UK and Brazil and to foster UK's global performance and competitiveness. Accordingly it will endeavour to raise UK's academic and social profile in Brazil and vice versa by launching a pioneering line of enquiry into Brazilian cinema's intermedial relations. As a historiographic method applicable to cinema on a global scale, the research will demonstrate UK's academic forefront position in tackling this new theoretical avenue, whilst catering for the recent surge in interest in Brazil within Britain. Main beneficiaries will be:
1. Archives, museums and their users. The investigators will be conducting research at a number of archives in São Paulo, Rio, Recife and London (see Case for Support). For example, Araújo has identified and will be revisiting materials available for research on the movie prologues of the 1920s at the National Archive, the Cinemateca Brasileira, the São Paulo Public Archive, the Cinédia Archive and the Brazilian Society of Theatre Authors. At these and other archives, the project team will be working towards preserving and presenting data on Brazilian cinema which, for the first time, will include its rich and complex intermedial and intercultural relations. By the end of the project (March 2018) archive users will be able to access this information in an organised form, which will improve and enrich their perception of Brazilian cinema. Tate will particularly benefit from the Tropicália Film Season (March 2017), curated by PDRA 2 Ross in collaboration with Tate's assistant curator Clark, as it will complement and reveal the interdisciplinary nature of works by Hélio Oiticica and other Tropicália artists in their collection.
2. Audiences of museums and not-for-profit organisations. Under the coordination of PDRA 1, in June 2017 the Movie Prologues will be re-staged at the Cinemateca Brasileira, in São Paulo, diences will become aware of this intermedial phenomenon and its value as cultural heritage of popular extraction. Two impact events will take place at the not-for-profit Reading Film Theatre: the re-staging of the Movie Prologues (September 2018) and the Brazilian Contemporary Music Film Season (June 2018), the latter coordinated by PDRA 3, showcasing examples of this burgeoning production, including major biopics on musicians such as Cazuza and Two Sons of Francisco, accompanied by Q&As with filmmakers such as Walter Carvalho and Sandra Werneck. This will be a unique opportunity for Reading audiences to become acquainted with the Movie Prologue phenomenon and the contemporary Brazilian cinema. Through the Tropicália Film Season, in March 2017, Tate Modern audiences will become aware of the relations between Tropicália artworks and films. Performances and debates by invited artists and speakers, such as José Celso Martinez Correia and Paloma Rocha, will reinforce the links between academics, the general public and the industry.
3. Students from UoR and UFSCAR. The re-enactment of the Movie Prologues at the Cinemateca Brasileira will be performed by the theatre company Cia. do Terror led by a UFSCAR PG student. In September 2018, the same shows translated into English will be re-staged at the Reading Film Theatre by actors and a director recruited among UoR FTT UG and PG film/theatre students. By participating in these impact events, students from UFSCAR and UoR will be training in their future careers as theatre actors and directors.
4. International audiences and readerships. Audiences around the world will be kept constantly abreast of the research results through the project's bilingual website and social networks, enhancing their perception of Brazilian cinema and the uses of intermediality. The two edited books will be submitted for publication straight onto paperback and e-book so as to reach general audiences, as well as the academic readership.
This project will focus on cinema's nature as a mixture of arts and media in order to produce the first, groundbreaking intermedial history of Brazilian cinema. It will also explore the uses of intermediality as a historiographic method applicable to cinema as a whole. To that end, it will bring together scholars from the University of Reading (UoR) and the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCAR), as well as 3 PDRAs, combining expertise in cinematic intermediality (Nagib, Araújo, Butler, Paiva, Reck Miranda, PDRA 2), Brazilian cinema (Nagib, Araújo, Cesarino Costa, Paiva, Reck Miranda, PDRAs 1 & 3), film history (Araújo, Cesarino Costa, PDRA 2), film theory (Nagib, Butler, Purse, Gibbs), film and music (Reck Miranda, Paiva, PDRA 3), film and theatre (Gibbs, PDRA 3), film and visual arts (Butler, PDRA 1) and film and popular culture (Purse, PDRAs 1 & 3).
Intermediality has never been applied to cinema as a historiographic method, which is being proposed in this project as an entirely original and promising avenue. Broadly speaking, 'intermediality' refers to the interbreeding of artistic and technical medial forms. In this project, it will be used both to indicate film's mixed nature and to give pride of place to those film phenomena in which hybridity is particularly notable. The focus will be Brazilian cinema, which from its early days has combined extra-filmic artistic and cultural forms, resulting in an original aesthetic blend. Artists coming from theatre, opera, dance, music, circus, radio, television and the plastic arts left a distinctive mark on film production in the country, apparent in practices such as: the 1920s movie prologues; the chanchada musical comedies of the 1940s-60s; the 1950s productions from the studios Maristela, Multifilmes and Vera Cruz; the Tropicália cinematic outputs, spanning the 1960s-80s; the 1990s árido movie production; and the contemporary wave of music films. The investigators will conduct intensive archival and filmog research on these periods, as well as interviews with relevant artists and experts, so as to substantiate the premise that these hybrid phenomena break the boundaries between local and imported traditions, high and popular cultures, passive and active spectatorship, 'classical' and 'modern' narrative forms, constituting a democratic space par excellence for artistic and social expression.
Brazilian cinema is strategically and timely placed to demonstrate the advantages of the intermedial method. Brazil's current economic ascendance evidences the shortcomings of traditional approaches, such as the sociological model, hinging on questions of imperialism and colonial occupation leading to what Salles Gomes once termed 'a trajectory in underdevelopment' a propos of the history of Brazilian cinema. Film studies as a whole are in need of a productive alternative to evolutionist views which posit 'modernity' as an aesthetic or political pinnacle in film history. Rather than privileging some forms over others, intermediality will allow us to place a variety of styles and genres on an equal footing, resulting in a kaleidoscope that accurately reflects a national cinema's cultural richness and political complexity.
The project will benefit academics and researchers willing to find new ways of understanding film history away from evolutionary and hierarchical schemes. Two edited books will ensue from the conferences 'Towards an Intermedial History of Brazilian Cinema' and 'The Moving Form of Film: Exploring Intermediality as a Historiographic Method'. Other outputs will include 12 book chapters and more than 30 journal articles. The project will also benefit the general public through impact events coordinated by the PDRAs and accompanied by comprehensive catalogues: a Tropicália Film Season at Tate Modern; re-stagings of the Movie Prologues at the Cinemateca Brasileira and the Reading Film Theatre; and a Brazilian Music Film Season at the Reading Film Theatre.