Aesthetics of Hunger

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Aesthetic of Hunger
Glauber Rocha

Leaving aside the type of informative introduction which characterizes discussions about Latin America, I prefer to situate the relation between our culture and civilized culture in term less reduced than those which characterize the European observer's analysis. While Latin America bemoans its general wretchedness, the foreign interlocutor cultivates a taste for this wretchedness not as a tragic symptom, but rather as simple formal information for his field of interest. Neither does the Latin convey his true wretchedness to civilized man nor does civilized man truly comprehend the Latin's wretchedness. Here lies, basically, the situation of the arts in Brazil before the world: until now, only lies drawn up as truths (formal exoticisms that vulgarize social problems) have been conveyed in quantity, producing a series of errors not limited to Art, but that contaminate, above all, the terrain of politics. The European observer is only interested in artistic creation from the underdeveloped world to the extent that it satisfies his nostalgia for primitivism; and this primitivism is hybrid, dressed up as late legacies from the civilized world, misunderstood because imposed by colonialist conditioning. Latin America is still a colony, and the only thing that differentiates yesterday's colonialism from today's is the colonizer's more perfect form as well as the subtle forms of those who assemble future blows on us. The international problem of Latin America is still a case of a change of colonizers, given that any possible liberation will be a function of a new dependence for a long time to come. This economic and political conditioning led us to philosophical emaciation and impotence which, sometimes consciously and sometimes not, produce first sterility and then hysteria. Sterility: this is seen in the abundant work in our art where the author castrates himself through formal exercises that are still not in full possession of their forms, and in the frustrated dream of universalization. Artists who have not awoken from the adolescent aesthetic ideal. So, especially in San Pablo, we see hundreds of dusty and forgotten paintings in galleries, books of stories and poems, plays and films that have even caused bankruptcy. The official world in charge of the arts generated carnivalesque exhibitions in festivals and biennials, contrived conferences, easy formulas for success, cocktail parties around the world, in addition to monstrous cultural officials, academics of Arts and Letters, juries for painting and cultural delegations that travel abroad. University monstrosities: the famous literary magazines, the contests, the titles. Hysteria: a more complex chapter. Social indignation leads to impetuous discourses. The first symptom is the anarchism that characterizes young poetry and painting, even today. The second is the political reaction of art that is bad politics due to an excessive sectarianism. The third and most efficacious is the search for a systematization of the people's art. But what's misunderstood in all of this is that our possible balance is not the result of an organic body, but rather a titanic and self-consuming force trying to overcome impotence. We are frustrated, confined to only the lower limits of the colonizer as a result of that use of forceps. And if he understands us, it is not, then, due to the clarity of our dialogue but rather the humanitarianism that our information inspires. Once again, a language of tears and mute suffering is understood through paternalism. Latin hunger is not, then, just an alarming symptom: it is the very nerve of its own society. Here lies the tragic originality of Cinema Novo for the world cinema: our originality is our hunger, and our greatest woe is that, because it is felt, this hunger is not understood. From Amanda to Vidas Secas, Cinema Novo narrated, described, poeticized, discoursed, analyzed. It aroused the themes of...
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