MoMA Film Series ‘On the Edge: Brazilian Film Experiments of the 1960s and Early 1970s’



MoMA Film Series ‘On the Edge: Brazilian Film Experiments of the 1960s and Early 1970s’

From 10 May to 24 July, the Museum of Modern Art’s film series ‘On the Edge: Brazilian Film Experiments of the 1960s and 1970s’ serves as a complement to the exhibition ‘Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948-1988.’ Both the exhibition and film series celebrate Brazilian cultural production at a time of intense creative ferment across multiple media as well as increasingly repressive sociopolitical and artistic conditions.  The film series in particular provides a great, askew perspective and mix of artists and filmmakers’ audiovisual works, ranging from the well known (Glauber Rocha, Rogério Sganzerla, José Mojica Marins) to the less well known due to their principal ties to the art and avant-garde world instead of strictly that of cinema (Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Anna Bella Geiger, Nelson Leirner).

‘Film experiments’ is an appropriate, productive description for the group of 1960s and 1970s Brazilian films showcased in MoMA’s series. ‘Film experiments’ encompasses the range of production values (or lack thereof) and theoretical positions that motivated the making of films at the time, and significantly nods to the close connection between cinema and the avant-garde. Furthermore, ‘film experiments’ subtly underscores the shifts in attitude, content, and forms negotiated between filmmakers, audiences, state-funded companies, and state censoring bodies during this period. Above all, ‘film experiments’ collapses the boundary between highbrow and lowbrow that also underwrote a number of these productions.

What follows below is a general sociohistorical and critical context of this still underlooked period of Brazilian cinema.

For more information on the series, visit

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About Author

Film lecturer at CSULB. Transnational, multilingual, migratory cinephilia.