Cinematography: Brazil Burning

ABC da greve

ABC of a Strike
Leon Hirszman
Brasilien 1979, 1990
84 min

One of the hidden treasures of Brazilian cinema is the group of films produced in tandem with the massive strikes that galvanized the country’s attention around 1979. After 15 years of an dictatorship that was still to continue, hundreds of thousands of metallurgy workers decided to go on strike to protest against unlivable conditions, carrying out an unprecedented uprising. The film is as hungry as the workers: its formal voracity embraces aerial footage and intimate shots, direct and dissonant sound, long sensory takes inside the hellish factories and rapid dialectical montage to confront the dominant discourse. A strike is primarily an aesthetic event: arms, once used only to perform repetitive movements, now hand over flyers on the streets, stop traffic, gesticulate firmly to follow a newly discovered political voice, are raised together to manifest an opinion. ABC DA GREVE cinematically reinvents these gestures: Lula, the man who later would become the most important president in Brazilian history – and who is now incarcerated by the same elites who were doing the same back then – smokes a cigarette while waiting to speak to an un-imaginable crowd on a decisive day. In his physical hesitation, we can feel the gravity that sufuses him. The future popular hero is a sweaty, reluctant man. Hirszman does not film to convey an idea – as with so many militant filmmakers – but to create the experience of the inauguration of a world. (Victor Güimaraes)

  • Adrian Cooper
  • Adrian Cooper
  • Marcello Tassara
Irma, Maria und João Pedro Hirszman, Taba Filmes
Maria Hirszman
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