Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 7:30pm
Jorge Bodanzky and Orlando Senna's Iracema

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Introduced by Jonathas de Andrade

Iracema, Jorge Bodanzky and Orlando Senna, 1975, digital projection, 90 mins

Jorge Bodanzky and Orlando Senna’s Iracema: Uma Transa Amazônica lifts its name from José de Alencar’s 1865 novel Iracema, one of the foundational texts of Brazilian literature. Alencar’s Iracema—her name an anagram for “America”—is a virginal indigenous maiden who falls in love with a noble Portuguese explorer; in a romanticized allegory of the nation’s genesis, the couple produce a child who represents a new Brazilian people. Made under the 1970s military dictatorship, Bodanzky and Senna’s Iracema presents, by contrast, an unsparing vision of late-20th-century Brazil, ravaged by the ruthless domination of human beings and the unfettered destruction of nature. The titular character (movingly portrayed by nonprofessional actor Edna de Cássia) is reimagined as a teenager of mixed native and European heritage who moves from the countryside to the city, where she becomes a sex worker. Before long she is picked up by a cynical truck driver named Tião Brasil Grande (Paulo César Perério), who transports lumber across the rapidly expanding Trans-Amazonian Highway. When Tião tires of Iracema’s company he abandons her at a roadside brothel, only to encounter her by chance months later. The interval, he discovers, has taken a heavy toll on the young woman, whom the world has made bitter, bedraggled, and resigned to her fate.

Inspired by neorealism as well as the films of John Cassavetes and Jean Rouch, the directors constructed Iracema by enacting a road-movie scenario inside everyday settings, combining artifice and documentary to yield a richly atmospheric parable whose lessons still maintain a grim relevance. Though the work was banned in its own country until 1980, it has since become regarded as one of the major films of its era, and its influence continues to resonate among a younger generation of artists and filmmakers in Brazil, such as Jonathas de Andrade, who is likewise discovering new possibilities for fiction embedded in social reality.

Tickets - $8, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.