The Performative Force of Bodies: Affective Realism in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema

Alessandra Brandão, Ramayana Lira de Sousa


This paper traces the emergence of a younger generation of Brazilian filmmakers whose works bypass traditional themes in Brazilian cinema such as urban violence and historical revisionism to engage in post-identity politics avoiding narratives of nation, class and gender. One of the most prominent features in these recent works is a questioning of the status of the image, which vacillates between fiction and documentary without a point of resolution. This vacillation can be understood in terms of the performative nature of films like The Monsters, The Residents, The Earth Giveth, The Earth Taketh and Avenida Brasilia Formosa. Such films are centered around improvisations that open up the image to the real. Therefore, these films produce a space between fiction and documentary, between reality and artifice that is productive and politically charged. This proposal aims at discussing this “Brand New” Brazilian Cinema (Novísssimo Cinema Brasileiro) and the performative force of bodies in its affective realism. No longer a referent for a sociological truth about Brazilian society, realism is taken as something that the image does, i. e., as an affect that challenges the viewer's response-ability. 


Contemporary Brazilian Cinema; Performance; Affect; Body

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