THE ART MOVEMENT – Episode 24 (RADIO SHOW)

Welcome to THE ART MOVEMENT, a radio show about arts and culture, where all art forms and free thoughts are allowed. The show is hosted and produced by globe-trotting arts presenter Matt Micucci, and features plenty of music, interview clips and thoughts on current events.

Listen to Episode 24 via one of the players below.

In this episode:

  • Charlie Parker turns 100;
  • Update on the Cinemateca Brasileira;
  • Mário Peixoto’s Limite;
  • Is Amazon exploiting artists?
  • Analog vs. digital;

and more, plus lots of music!

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.

Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!

The Cinemateca Brasileira and Brazil’s Cultural Heritage Is in Danger

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

In my ART MOVEMENT shows, I try not to get too carried away with politics but in the past, I have talked about how I believe that you can tell a lot about any given country’s state of democracy by its treatment of the arts and cultural heritage at large.

When we think about totalitarians and extremists burning books, destroying artworks or censoring and prosecuting artists, we tend to think of it as something of a different time. Footage from the past shot in black and white.

Yet, there are several worrying situations right now in various parts of the world that we should be aware of. One of these is certainly Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, which also happens to top my personal list of countries I’ve always wanted to visit.

Since his election, the right-wing politician has done much to be considered one of the world’s most controversial leaders. He has trampled over human rights and decreased democratic rights in Brazil. In the process, he has also shown a great disregard for the arts and culture sector.

Brazil has been one of the worst hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic. This has facilitated his government’s plans for a stronghold on arts and culture, as well as its educational sector. One of the latest examples is what is currently happening with the Cinemateca Brasileira, which is the cinematheque of Brazil.

The Cinemateca Brasileira was founded in 1940, which makes it one of the oldest cinema institutions in the entire country. It’s also home to the largest film archive in South American with 250,000 rolls of film and a million cinema-related documents.

It is, in other words, the most important institution for preserving the memory of Brazilian cinema and also, works from the cinemas of other countries that were discovered in Brazil.

Despite its obvious invaluable status, the Bolsonaro government has little time for it. The Cinematheque’s employees have not been paid since March. During this period, the government completely cut finances to the foundation tasked with looking after it, leaving the institution broke.

As a result, the Cinemateca has not been able to pay its bills and recently, its electricity was cut off. Last Friday, a Special Secretariat for Culture took keys to the Cinematheque in an operation that involved heavily armed men from the Federal Police force.

In addition, 41 employees were fired. A dismantling of the Cinemateca is currently underway with no experts in the preservation of film involved. 

Archiving films is not as easy as storing stacked reels of film on a shelf. The film medium requires a lot of care and attention in order to be preserved, not to mention that each of the reels of films is painstakingly catalogued, as the risk of losing anything from any archive is always around the corner.

Abrupt abandonment, the way in which it is happening in the Cinemateca, puts its cultural collection at great risk, since much of the stored material is composed of nitrate, a substance that can spontaneously combust without proper care. Care must therefore be performed by highly skilled labourers.

Without trained technical staff, all the national memory stored there may disappear forever.

Download the full radio show HERE

Click here to buy my book of thoughts on film, Eye of the Beholder, on Amazon!