The film series Cruzamentos: Contemporary Brazilian Documentary seeks to explore just what is so extraordinary about the recent wave of significant documentaries produced in Brazil. The series will include 24 feature films and 15 short films dating from 1974 to the present, and several of the filmmakers will be present for screenings. The largest series of Brazilian documentaries ever presented in North America, Cruzamentos offers audiences the most expansive opportunity to familiarize themselves with this vital tradition.
Brazilian filmmakers have historically moved between documentaries and fiction films with great regularity, so this series spotlights some of the most significant contemporary filmmakers, including Eduardo Coutinho, Leon Hirszman, José Padilha, Glauber Rocha, Rogério Sganzerla, João Moreira Salles, and Walter Salles. Although most of the series will focus on the particularly adventurous work made in the 21st century, several important antecedents will be included, including Iracema (Jorge Bodanzky, Orlando Senna, 1974) and Twenty Years Later (Eduardo Coutinho, 1985). Those films serve as foundational templates for the later films in the series in that they establish a hybridity of fiction and documentary and examine broad social issues by focusing on specific lives. Too rarely screened outside of Brazil, they are also emblematic in that they are not only masterpieces of Brazilian cinema, but are also key films in world cinema history. This series hopes to put these films in a larger dialogue with international cinema as it is produced and discussed today.
The Cruzamentos film series shares a title with the exhibition that will be in our galleries at the same time. The two projects were developed and researched in tandem and each complements and completes the other. As with the exhibition, the film series aims to extend the ideas behind the Portuguese word “cruzamentos” (literally “crossings” or “intersections,” but also, more poetically, “hybridity”) to contemporary documentary. With Brazil increasingly making international headlines, Cruzamentos provides an occasion to examine a country in motion and to contextualize the astonishing economic and cultural transformation it has witnessed over the past twenty years.
Leading up to the large Cruzamentos film series and exhibition, the Wex presented a number of important contemporary and historical Brazilian films to build interest in Brazilian art and cinema and welcomed visits from three of Brazil's most notable directors (representing three generations of Brazilian filmmakers): Kleber Mendonça Filho (who discussed his extraordinary debut film Neighboring Sounds), Walter Salles (who introduced his Oscar-nominated film Central Station), and Nelson Pereira dos Santos (who visited as part of a monthlong retrospective of his legendary body of work).
Cruzamentos: Contemporary Brazilian Documentary will tour to the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.