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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Brazilian cinema

This page looks exclusively at Brazilian cinema. If you are interested in Portuguese film resources, please see the tab for Portugal.

Brazil’s first screening of moving images took place in Rio de Janeiro on 8 July 1896, and filmmaking equipment was introduced to the country two years later. The earliest films made locally were of ceremonies, festivals, and local scenes, though public film shows were not widespread at first because of lack of electricity. Nonetheless in the béla epoca (1908–12) over a hundred films a year were made, including the most popular film of the period, Paz de amor/Peace and Love (Alberto Botelho, 1910), and Antonio Leal’s true crime film Os estranguladores/The Stranglers (1908). Until 1912 Brazilian-made films dominated the local market, but the béla epoca came to an end as Brazilian films were forced out by imports from the USA and Europe, and local production was once again confined largely to actualities, with occasional exceptions such as the social drama Exemplo regenerador/Redeeming Example (Gilberto Ross and José Medina, 1919), a successful feature that paved the way for other films of the genre, including Fragmentos da vida/Fragments of Life (José Medina, 1929). Humberto Mauro, who was active in the 1920s and 1930s and directed a celebrated early sound film, Lábios sem beijos/Lips Without Kisses (1930), is widely regarded as the founding father of Brazil’s national cinema.

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Brazil, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 27 May. 2021

Searching the online catalog

You can use the subject headings below to find resources in the online catalog. The call number ranges are also included.

Please note: these are not the only call numbers, but they have the majority of items. These searches will also lead you to movie titles.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book titles

Other library resource(s)

Finding journal articles

Articles and other writings about Brazilian cinema can be found in many publications. Our collection includes several journals which look exclusively at Portuguese language films. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page.

Selected movie titles

For more Brazilian movie titles in the library's online catalog.