Synopsis by Mark Deming
Julio Bressane and Rogerio Sganzerla were a pair of Brazilian filmmakers who became frustrated with the creative stagnation and political repression that dominated their nation's film industry after the Cinema Novo movement lost its momentum. After producing a string of low-budget comedies with a political subtext, Bressane and Sganzerla grew more ambitious; using the modest profits from their comedies, they established a production company called Belair, and in the first few months of 1970, they produced six full-length feature films, structurally inventive works full of stylish visuals and strong social and political commentary. While Belair's output was brave and audacious, it was also too bold for public consumption in a nation still under a military dictatorship, and beyond a few screenings at museums, the Belair pictures went unreleased, becoming the stuff of legend among historians of the Brazilian cinema and often discussed though little seen. Forty years later, filmmakers Noa Bressane (Julio's daughter) and Bruno Safadi explore the short but fascinating history of Bressane and Sganzerla's experiment in the documentary Belair; featuring extensive clips from the six Belair features, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with some of the original participants, the film is a celebration of a often overlooked moment in Brazil's underground culture. Belair was an official selection at the 2010 Rotterdam International Film Festival.
avant-garde, cinema, experimental [arts]