The Films of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

Brazilwood Man

Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Brazil, 1982, 35mm, 106 min., Portuguese w/ English subtitles

“Andrade’s final feature was arguably his greatest…bemused, sexy, and positively ecstatic take on the life, work, and ideas of Oswald de Andrade, author of two cornerstones of Brazilian modernism, the 1924 ‘Manifesto of Brazilwood Poetry’ and the 1928 ‘Anthropophagic Manifesto’ or ‘Cannibalist Manifesto.’ In a sense, this is Andrade’s second homage to his namesake: the protagonist of Macunaíma, in contrast to that of the original novel, was partly modeled on Oswald. Echoing the dual nature of that character, who is born as a fully grown adult and is transformed from black to white, The Brazilwood Man gives us a double Oswald: a man and a cross-dressed woman appear together on screen, simultaneously playing the writer. In the end, the female Oswald, inspired by the manifesto’s call for a revolutionary cannibalistic matriarchy, eats her male counterpart – just as Macunaíma, back in the jungle after his loss-filled journey, is devoured by a pond nymph. The wilderness claims everything alien to it, and by the time he returns, Macunaíma has become an Other. Lucid, sensual, and gloriously schizophrenic, The Brazilwood Man has the lilt of a musical, and sparkles like an elegant comedy of manners, bursting with ideas and innuendos.” — Olaf Möller, FILM COMMENT

About The Films of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

In collaboration with Kino Lorber, Lightbox presents a retrospective of the work of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, one of the most important figures in the Cinema Novo movement that transformed Brazilian film in the 1960s and ’70s. Andrade’s oeuvre has been overshadowed to some extent by the success of his 1969 masterpiece, Macunaíma, yet his career encompassed four additional features, as well as numerous short films and the hour-long documentary Garrincha: Hero of the Jungle (1963), all of which are remarkable accomplishments that would suffice to establish his place in the pantheon of Brazilian filmmakers.

Hailing from a culturally prominent family in Rio de Janeiro, Andrade grew up in close contact with some of the country’s greatest artists, writers, and scholars. Abandoning his university education to pursue filmmaking, he would soon join in the formally and politically audacious Cinema Novo. Like those of his fellow Cinema Novo-associated filmmakers, such as Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Leon Hirszman, Ruy Guerra, and many others, Andrade’s films combined a sophisticated, modernist approach with an uncompromisingly critical, often outrageous, and uniquely Brazilian sensibility that makes his work every bit as vital today as it was when he made it.