Gustavo Procopio Furtado is Assistant Professor of Romance Studies, Latin American Studies, and Arts of the Moving Image at Duke University where he teaches classes on Latin American literature and cinema.
His book examines the vibrant field of documentary filmmaking in Brazil from the transition to democracy in 1985 to the present. Marked by significant efforts toward the democratization of Brazil’s highly unequal society, this period also witnessed the documentary’s rise to unprecedented vitality in quantity, quality, and diversity of production-which includes polished auteur films as well as rough-hewn collaborative works, films made in major metropolitan regions as well as in indigenous villages and in remote parts of the Amazon. The transformations of Brazilian society and of filmmaking coalesce and become entangled in this cinema’s preoccupation with archives.
Contemporary films incorporate, reflect on, and rework a variety of archives, such as documents produced by official institutions, ethnographic images, home movies, and photo albums-and engage not only with what is preserved but also with lacunas in the record and with alternate forms of remembering, retrieving, and transmitting the past. Through its interaction with archives, this book argues, the contemporary documentary reflects on and intervenes in the distribution of visibilities and invisibilities, centers and margins, silences and speech, living memory and its preservation in the record-thus locating the documentary on archival borders that concern Brazilian society and filmmaking alike.