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Documentary Filmmaking in Contemporary BrazilCinematic Archives of the Present$
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Gustavo Procopio Furtado

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190867041

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190867041.001.0001

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Feverish Archives, Feverish Films

Feverish Archives, Feverish Films

Ethnographic Documentary and Crisis at Amazonian Contact Zones

(p.23) 1 Feverish Archives, Feverish Films
Documentary Filmmaking in Contemporary Brazil

Gustavo Procopio Furtado

Oxford University Press

Focusing on contemporary documentaries that deal with isolated indigenous groups in the Amazon, this chapter discusses a contact imaginary that was inaugurated by Pero Vaz de Caminha’s letter of “discovery” to the Portuguese king in the year 1500 and re-elaborated ad nauseam in a vast corpus of films documenting encounters with indigenous people. The “contact film” constitutes an archive of predictable and endlessly repeated original contacts and “first” encounters. During the course of the twentieth century, however, this documentary subgenre becomes increasingly troubled by its own history and the destructive consequences of contact. Inheriting a burdensome legacy, contemporary films approach the remaining borders of contact with isolated indigenous groups while evincing the crisis of this imaginary and its archives—as illustrated in works by Werner Herzog, Silvio Da-Rin, Vincent Carelli, and especially by the feverish, formal experimentations of Andrea Tonacci.

Keywords:   isolated Indians, ethnography, contact film, contact imaginary, Pero Vaz Caminha, Claude Levi Strauss, indigenism, Villas Bôas brothers, Andrea Tonacci

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