Austin Film Society presents Essential Cinema: Jungle Freaks - The Cinema Novo Of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

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Macunaima Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society

Joaquim Pedro de Andrade is one of the most important figures of Brazil’s Cinema Novo period, and his film, Macunaima (aka Jungle Freaks), helped to set the tone for this style of film that, much like its musical analogue, Tropicalia, gave the psychedelic and countercultural movements that were then sweeping the world a uniquely Brazilian beat. If you love John Waters’ and Lina Wertmuller’s approach to film narrative, then you will enjoy these films.


  • June 7: Macunaima - One of the most important films in Brazilian history, Macunaima is a magical fable of a black man born in the jungle who magically becomes white and embarks on a journey through modern Rio de Janeiro. A biting satire and allegory of Brazil’s complex racial and cultural history. Along the way there is a giant, cannibals and more.
  • June 14: The ConspiratorsThe wild swings and crazy canvas of Macunaima gave way to a direct and deeply subversive narrative of a historical Brazilian uprising in The Conspirators. In 1789 a group of landowners, intellectuals and others, inspired by the American Revolution, rose up against Portuguese occupiers. Here, de Andrade drew the ire of the political regime, with his thinly veiled critique of contemporary military dictatorship. 
  • June 20: Conjugal WarfareDe Andrade takes aim at the Brazilian middle class by directing his camera at their bedrooms. This sex comedy is more than meets the eye. Modeled on the very popular pornochanchada trend of the time, de Andrade, as usual, is interested in the ways that attitudes about social class, race, and other factors are exposed in the arena of sex.
  • June 28: Brazilwood Man - De Andrade’s final film is sure to leave even the most well-versed student of Brazilian culture in the dark. Much like “Ulysses” however, it can be enjoyed and appreciated even without a full understanding of the satirical references or Portuguese language puns. Constructed around the ideas of poet and political theorist Oswald de Andrade (no relation), it is a series of collage-like fragments connected by a monologue of Oswald’s words, ending with words that may constitute a fittingly rude epitaph to Joaquim’s work, “Go fuck yourself, you shithead revolutionaries.”

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AFS Cinema
6406 N. I-35 Frontage Rd. Suite 3100
Austin, TX 78752


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