by Sevgi Horozoğlu & Isabel Cavalcante Morais
The history of cinema, its understanding, characteristics, and topics are different in every culture. And over the years, it has changed to take different forms through the changes in the political situations of the country, technological developments, and cultural influences from other countries.
For example, the main genres of Turkish cinema are mostly comedy-drama and topics inspired by daily lives of the people. These issues received the interest and appreciation of the public. The first cinema shoot took place in Istanbul Beyoğlu in 1986 using “cinemagraphs”. And the first Turkish film shot was Fuat Uzkınay’s Demolition of the Monument at San Stefano (Ayastefanos’taki Rus Abidesinin Yıkılışı), about the destruction of the Ayastefanos monument on November 14, 1914.
In Brazil, the first movie screened was in 1896, and this set off the country’s cinema industry, since it took place in Rio de Janeiro. Only by 1908 the first films began being produced in Brazil, the same time when electricity arrived in Rio de Janeiro.
Poster of the first movie screened in Brazil.
Since movies were beginning to be popular, Hollywood Cinema became a hit around 1910, so Brazilian productions weren’t quite as successful. Movies made in Brazil weren’t at all watched, hugely because American movies were higher in perceived quality, a prejudice that still exists today.
After the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the changing administrative system and reforms shaped the history of cinema, especially after 1945 when the production of motion pictures increased. In these periods, especially Egyptian, American adventure films, and comedy films based on the origins of Turkish culture were made.
Cinema had started to be an employment area in Turkey with the increasing interest in the industry. When the 1960s came, Turkish cinema began to experience its golden age. Films in colour were being released. With 241 films in 1966, Turkish cinema ranks 4th in world feature film production. (Sesam)
This period is also known as the beginning of the Yeşilçam period, when Turkish cinema produced unforgettable works using famous actors. The subjects of these Turkish films were mostly entertainment and comedy, love, village life, and blood feuds. It was especially common in this period that films dealt with social issues within the framework of comedy. In the 70s, some films came out, such as Hababam Sınıfı, Gülen Gözler, Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım.
Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım- First Touch
By the 1980s, the changing political structure in Turkey also affected Turkish cinema. Films dealing with the subject of women as well as comedy films like Yedi Bela Hüsnü, Devlet Kuşu, En Büyük Şaban, Şendul Şaban came out. Kemal Sunal performed as a lead-actor in these films who was one of the well-known actors of the Yeşilçam period. Among the most successful films of the period are Anayurt Oteli (1986), Duvar (1983), Uçurtmayı vurmasınlar (1989), Yol (1982).
As in Turkey, the political situations experienced in Brazil have affected the cinema culture in the country as well. By 1930, political parties began to produce propaganda documentaries. Dictatorship in Brazil had an enormous influence on the arts in general. Especially from 1964 to 1985 no artistic movies were legally produced; the only uncensored movies were political propaganda of the army.
Brazilian political propaganda movies:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/h6UF1JpzbKYTherefore cinema was now a way to manage society despite being only artistic movies. Regardless of this, Cinédia Studio began to produce “Chanchadas”, which were musicals about Brazilian Carnival, which featured the actress and remarkable Brazilian personality, Carmen Miranda, whose aesthetic has popularized Brazil’s art worldwide.
Poster of Cinédia’s movie: Alô alô Carnaval
During the 1940s, “Cangaço” Cinema developed movies with the classical structure of villains versus heroes. The lead character was “Lampião”, who was the “hero” (there’s some controversy about that), and “Maria Bonita”, Lampião’s wife. Lampião still causes controversy today because of its conduct, if it is considered banditry or social justice. Lampião wanted to end hunger, exploitation and the negligence of the authorities. The aesthetics of those movies had blown out lights. Cangaço, Maria Bonita, and Lampião are very celebrated in the north-east region of Brazil.
In fact, Cangaço Cinema was romanticized, but it’s actually based on the true story of the Cangaço Movement, which took place in Ceará, around 1920-1930. The leader of the “Cangaçeiros” (criminal gangs who tried to stop the accumulation of assets by landlords, who made the northeast region poor), Lampião, is considered a Brazilian Robin Wood, because, in spite of the many crimes committed by the Cangaçeiros against many farmers, he wanted to stop the misery in Ceará.
Poster of the short series about Lampião and Maria Bonita.
From 1933 to 1958, Vita Studios developed the famous “Favela Cinema”, whose structure was based on daily life narratives. Aesthetically, natural lighting was used and had references to America’s classic cinema.
Marginal (also called ‘New’) Cinema was very remarkable from 1950 to 1990 in Brazil; many cinema masterpieces were part of this movement. The storytelling was a denunciation of poverty and urban violence in Brazil. It had Italian cinematic references and the structure spoke for itself, population versus urban development. The aesthetic also had blown-out lights and crowded ambiance.
Only by 1992 Brazilian Cinema really returned, uncensored and stronger than ever. But the art versus the technicalities was a matter that many directors and producers, who worried about the production of those movies, focused on. Most contemporary Brazilian Cinema productions are either from Globo Films or Independent movies. Globo Films produces national successes, mainly novels and comedy movies, while most independent movies are shown in festivals or are editorial productions.
Cinema masterpieces of Brazil
- O Pagador de Promessas (1962);
- Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (1964);
- Bang Bang (1971)
- Central do Brasil (1998);
- O auto da compadecida (2000);
- Cidade de Deus(2002);
- Cinema Aspirinas e Urubus (2006);
- Tropa de Elite (2007);
- Minha mãe é uma peça (2013):
- Bacurau (2019).
In Turkey, the 1990s was a period when the number of new productions decreased considerably. With the emergence of alternative film viewing formats such as Video-DVD and the spread of private television channels, motion picture theatres began to close.
The period from the second half of the 90s to the 2010s is called the New Turkish cinema. It is argued that this period started with the release of the Eşkiya (The Bandit) movie in 1996. The reason for this is the fact that a large number of audiences were engaged during that period and the high technical production quality used in the film. After the 2000s, technical changes began to occur in Turkish cinema and world standards were achieved. With the use of developing technology and the high standards achieved, Turkish cinema has started to be globally known.
In the changing environment, Turkish cinema has managed to create its own cinema culture over time, and some productions that made the name of Turkish Cinema known at the Cannel film festivals and won awards in those festivals.
CANNES AWARDS OF TURKISH CINEMA
Yol (1981) – Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm Award
Güneşe Yolculuk (Journey to the Sun) (1999) – 49. Berlin Film Festival Jury Prize
Yaşamın Kıyısında (2007) – 60. Cannes Film Festival Best Screenplay
Uzak (Distant) (2002) – Cannes Film Festivals Jury Prize.
Üç Maymun (2008) – 61. Cannes Film Festival Best Director
Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia)(2011) – 64. Cannes Film Festivals Jury Prize
Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep) (2014) – 64. Cannes Film Festivals Golden Palm Award