Why the Bolsonaro Government is Damaging Brazil’s Cultural Heritage

A partial transcript of Episode 22 of my arts and culture radio show, THE ART MOVEMENT. Scroll down to listen to the full show.

Sao Paulo-based film critic Felipe Furtado told Sight & Sound that the Bolsonaro government has “zero interest in culture and memory, and their neoliberal views regard any sort of art funding as a complete waste of resources. They also see most of art and education as suspicious overrun by leftists…”

But why would he be interested in harming the arts and cultural sector? Well, as mentioned, Bolsonaro is a highly controversial figure of the far-right. Art, of course, has power and resonated with people. It also broadens people’s horizons, opens their minds and gets them thinking. This is obviously something that an extremist government would not want people doing.

A government that’s interested in controlling as much of its population’s life as possible will most likely want to control all narratives of its own country. By doing so, it will not only look to produce new stories but also do its best to repress the older ones.

That’s what the Bolsonaro government did with the Cinemateca, although they were quite deceitful about it. They didn’t burn it to the ground outright. They just cut its funds and then cut its energy sources, leaving all those reels of film to rot.

Of course, one would assume that the intent is to destroy the past to increase investment in creating new films, perhaps ones that help communicate Bolsonaro’s vision of his country and project an image of Brazil that he could really get behind.

This is not a new concept, and it is an idea that recalls the term propaganda. And you know, it’s like that old saying — if it ain’t broke, why try to fix it?

Because you know what? Whatever Bolsonaro is doing is actually working! As of this recording, the coronavirus has killed more than 105,000 people in Brazil, making it the second-highest death toll worldwide after the United States. Several jobs were lost during this period.

Nevertheless, a survey revealed that Bolsonaro’s popularity is at a record high, showing that his popularity has surged five points from June, to 37 per cent, while his disapproval rating plunged 10 points to 34 per cent. And why am I not surprised…

Download the full radio show HERE.

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