Archive of films Macunaíma / Macunaíma

1969, 110 min

Section: Midnight Screenings
Year: 2006

A masterwork of Cinema Novo that combines a parody of studio comedies with the experimentation championed by the Tropicalist avant-garde, this extraordinary comic fable follows the title character who changes from black to white and wanders across Brazil, tricking his way out of traps set by mythic characters and urban politicos.


Choosing an iconic novel of Brazilian Modernism, written in 1928 by Mário de Andrade (no relation), the director noted, “Once I understood that Macunaíma was the story of a Brazilian man devoured by his country, the whole story made sense and everything fell into place.” His adaptation reflects a nation caught between a harsh military dictatorship and the anarchic energy of its people. What’s common to both novel and film is a meditation on Brazilian identity; a country in continuous flux, where one might move instantly from magic spells to modern industry. The eponymous protagonist, “a hero with no character”, changes from black to white as he travels from the jungle to the big city, along the way meeting con artists, urban guerillas, and an industrialist, who likes to eat people. Now beautifully restored by the filmmaker’s family to its full length and original enchanting colour, Macunaíma offers a hallucinatory mix of fairytale, radical politics, and inspired humour.

About the director

Joaquim Pedro de Andrade (1932–1988, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is a prize-winning writer-director said to be the filmmaker who best identified the contradictions of Brazilian reality and transposed the soul of his nation onto the big screen. His daring work deconstructs his country’s complicated racial ideology into a multicoloured spectrum. His oeuvre ranges from documentary to allegorical fiction, and his humorous yet biting films incorporate critical realism, sarcasm, satire and wild comedy. Macunaíma (1969) was the biggest box office success of its time and is now considered to be one of the masterworks of Cinema Novo. His feature-length films include Garrincha, Joy of the People (Garrincha, alegria do Povo, 1963), The Priest and the Girl (Padre e a moca, 1965), The Conspirators (Inconfidentes, 1972), Conjugal Warfare (Guerra conjugal, 1975) and The Brazilwood Man (Homem do Pau Brasil, 1981).


Filmes do Serro Ltda.
, 20230 060, Rio de Janeiro
Tel: +55 21 253 221 28
Fax: +55 21 253 221 28

Cinemateca Brasileira (Sociedade Amigos da Cinemateca - SAC)
Largo Senador Raul Cardoso, 207, , Sao Paolo
Tel: +55 11 508 421 77, 109
Fax: +55 11 557 265 67

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Midnight Screenings
Director: Joaquim Pedro de Andrade
Screenplay: Joaquim Pedro de Andrade podle románu / based on the novel by Mário de Andrade
Dir. of Photography: Guido Cosulich, Alfonso Beato
Music: Antonio Maria, Macalé, Orestes Barbosa, Silvio Caldas, Heitor Villa-Lobos
Editor: Eduardo Escorel
Production: Filmes do Serro, Grupo Filmes, Condor Filmes
Cast: Rodolfo Arena, Jardel Filho, Milton Gonçalves, Paulo José, Grande Otelo
Contact: Filmes do Serro Ltda., Cinemateca Brasileira (Sociedade Amigos da Cinemateca - SAC)

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