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Joao Silverio Trevisan (#110 of 2)

Rotterdam 2012: Coffin Joe

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Rotterdam 2012: Coffin Joe
Rotterdam 2012: Coffin Joe

“The natural is as false as the false. Only the arch false is really real. I’m talking about José Mojica Marins, filmmaker of excess and crime,” wrote an 18-year-old critic named Rogério Sganzerla. His imagination had been seized by the first Brazilian horror movie, At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, in 1964. Its director, a son of Spanish immigrants who’d spent much of his childhood in the backs of movie theaters, made the film based on a nightmare. Out of stray scraps of film reels dug out of the trash, Mojica filmed himself in a top hat and cape, pointing long fingernails at the screen and howling as a monstrous magician named Coffin Joe.

The film performed well at the box office, inspiring a sequel three years later, This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse. Its storyline was similar to At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul’s: Coffin Joe descends on a small town, murdering the menfolk and seeking the woman who will give him an immortal child. He curses human morality, over and over. But can Coffin Joe beat the forces of God?

Rotterdam 2012: Orgy or: the Man Who Gave Birth

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Rotterdam 2012: <em>Orgy or: the Man Who Gave Birth</em>
Rotterdam 2012: <em>Orgy or: the Man Who Gave Birth</em>

The story of Boca do Lixo filmmaking began a few years before any of its movies. In 1962, The Given Word, the story of a man who becomes a local hero for demanding entry into a church despite authority’s refusal, became the first Brazilian film to win the Palme D’Or at Cannes. The film insightfully analyzed Brazilian social inequalities of religion, gender, class, and race, but also humanized its characters well enough to give the film mass appeal. In a way similar to how Rashomon’s top prize at Venice a decade earlier created a profile for Japanese cinema in the West, The Given Word’s prize alerted European cultural elites to Brazilian film.