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Damned Brazilian Movies!: Sex and Violence During the Military Dictatorship

Bacalhau filme killer fish'Damned Brazilian Movies!': Human-eating giant cods, demon-possessed serial killers

Every Thursday, the Casa França-Brasil in downtown Rio de Janeiro has been presenting the film series “Malditos Filmes Brasileiros!” (Damned Brazilian Movies!). If you're in Rio, good news: the screenings are free. (Image: Giant cod and all-too-willing victim in Adriano Stuart's Bacalhau (Bac's).)

“Damned Brazilian Movies!” consists of low-budget (or no-budget) Brazilian productions – cop thrillers, erotic comedies known as pornochanchadas*, horror flicks, Feijoada† Westerns (a.k.a. “bang-bang movies”) – made from the '60s to the '80s, when Brazil was in the grip of a right-wing military dictatorship. Those truly subversive efforts dealt with sex and/or violence in a manner that outraged and/or titillated the Brazilian moviegoing public and that country's censors.

"Damned Brazilian Movies!” in August: Killer fish Bacalhau

“Damned Brazilian Movies!” August screenings include the following:

  • Raffaele Rossi's Seduzidas pelo Demônio / Seduced by the Devil (1978), the story of a laidback university student who, after becoming possessed by an evil spirit, turns into a brutal psychopath. “Forget Ed Wood,” the festival's schedule says about this “trashy pearl” from São Paulo's Grade Z moviedom.
  • Adriano Stuart's Bacalhau (Bac's) / Cod (1976), a semi-erotic satire inspired by Steven Spielberg's Jaws. (“Bac's” is a – meaningless in Portuguese – pun on the American film's English-language title.) In Bacalhau, an overgrown, insatiable cod scares the wits out of a bunch of tourists at a São Paulo beach resort. In the film's cast are several well-known Brazilian film and TV performers: Maurício do Valle, Hélio Souto, Marlene França, Helena Ramos, and Dionísio Azevedo.
  • Milton Alencar Jr.'s Escalada da Violência / Escalation of Violence (1981), a violent Rambo-esque tale about a man's determination to avenge the bloody death of his family. By the way, Escalada da Violência was filmed at the Beco da Fome, or Hunger Alley, a sort of poor (Brazilian) man's version of the American Poverty Row studios of yore.

* The word pornochanchada is pronounced more or less like “poh-noo-shun-SHAH-duh.” Note: The “h” in the syllable “poh” is pronounced like the aspirated “h” in “house,” while the “uh” in the last syllable is barely pronounced.

Note: † The Feijoada Westerns is the (generally no-budget) Brazilian equivalent of the Italian-made Spaghetti Western, but with a Brazilian – not an Old (American) West – setting. In fact, the “official” term for those blood-soaked cowboy movies is Nordestern, as it refers to “Westerns” set in the semi-arid hinterlands of Brazil's poverty-ridden Northeast.

Bacalhau photo via “Damned Brazilian Movies!.”

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1 Comment to Damned Brazilian Movies!: Sex and Violence During the Military Dictatorship

  1. Rachel Johnson

    I want to see Cod so bad. I hope these someday get an international release.