A tribute to Chabrol, another, to the actor Antônio Pitanga, figure of the Brazilian black emancipation and the cinema novo, the New Local Wave: at first glance, nothing to report in the programming of the Brazilian Cinematheque under the authoritarian and militarist extreme right of Jair Bolsonaro, who has led the country since the beginning of the year … and yet if: the holding next, from October 3 to 6, a very unusual "military film mostra", announced by a colonel (reservist) of the army, Lamartine Holanda. What stir up the emotions in the corridors, where one denounces a "Intervention never seen" at least since the end of the military dictatorship (1964-1985) whose populist leader is nostalgic. "We do not even know which films will be shown," blows a source that prefers to remain anonymous.

On August 14, the venerable institution, attached to the federal government but sitting in São Paulo, received an unusual visit: that of a deputy of the presidential formation, the Social Liberal Party (PSL), himself a reserve captain of the army, like Jair Bolsonaro. On the video supposed to record this visit "historical", the deputy, after having made the military salute, gives the floor to Colonel Holanda, who then announces the holding of this mostra of a new kind, of which he is the commissioner, seconded in his mission, he specifies, by the communication services of the three armies. On the menu, says Holanda without further details, "Old movies and soundtracks of the military symphony orchestra". Thrilling.

The two men then sing the campaign slogan of Bolsonaro – "Brazil above all, God above all" –, taken in chorus by the new strongman and "special advisor" of the Cinematheque, Rodrigo Morais. The idea of ​​a "military mostra" came from the latter, which did not follow the requests of Release. Disciple of Olavo de Carvalho, self-proclaimed philosopher and guru of the Brazilian extreme right, he is also close to the deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of the President and fervent little soldier of the fight against a supposed "Cultural marxism".

The word "censorship" on everyone's lips

In today's Brazil, culture, a progressive bastion, is a prime target of the reactionary and ignorant far right pushed to power by the fall of the left, which ruled the country between 2003 and 2016, with Lula, then Dilma Rousseff. Barely elected, the former military has removed the Ministry of Culture (replaced by a special secretariat within a portfolio called "Citizenship") … which is not necessarily regretted in the middle today. "Sometimes I think it's better that there is no Minister of Culture in this government, exclaimed the singer Chico Buarque in an interview at World dated June 21st. Culture is already attacked from all sides. If there were a minister, the situation would be even worse … " Sign of the times, the instruction to the Cinemateca brasileira is now "Beware of leftist activism".

"Censorship", the word is on everyone's lips. According to our information, the projection of the film Marighellaon a figure of the armed struggle against the dictatorship, was refused by the new leadership. As for the Soviet and Russian Film Mostra, hosted by the Cinematheque for five years – including under the former Conservative President Michel Temer – it is still not confirmed for this year … unlike the one that intends to pay tribute to the army.

Film production in the crosshairs

"To believe this government, the army has been the victim of unfair treatment by the left, Maria do Rosário Caetano, journalist specializing in cinema. So they want to show patriotic films, still will it find! Our military filmography is very limited: Brazil has fought few wars, and its commitment to the Allies has only been incidental. On the other hand, we have a panoply of films about dictatorship. But none praises the regime and is therefore "worthy" to be shown, according to the current criteria.

Funny period … The offensive on the Cinematheque is not an isolated gesture. Film production is in the crosshairs of the Bolsonaro government, which suspended in August the financing of films evoking sexual diversity. "In the absence of being able to intervene in private distribution, takes over Maria do Rosário Caetano, the government intends to use all possible public levers to try to impose its favorite themes : patriotism, religion, family. "


Chantal Rayes correspondent in São Paulo

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