Lucas Abrahão abstract

Abstract

There are many ways in which a film engages the spectator affectively, and examining this engagement can give us a deep insight into the film’s ideology and set of morals. This essay examines the affective engendering of José Padilha’s Tropa de Elite, a film that had an extremely polarized, dissonant reception in Brazil upon its release. In order to understand how this dissonance happened, two very different mechanisms of engagement in Brazilian Film – the affects of innocence and the affects of guilt - are dissected and contraposed. In the first part, Brazilian neorealist aesthetics are analyzed, focusing on how the films position the spectator as inherently innocent - morally and ideologically untouchable. Walter Salles’ Central do Brasil is examined as an example of contemporary film highly indebted to the affective morals of neorealism and as a case-study of the affects of innocence. In the secondpart, José Padilha’s Tropa de Elite is used as the starting point to describe a series of procedures essential to the foundations of the affects of guilt. Four main characteristics, related to the connection between the spectator and the film, are devised: the call for the activity of the spectator; the alignment of the spectator with authoritarianism; the association third parties, usually considered innocent, with the foundations of violence; the forcing of the spectator to acknowledge his/her complicity with the violence onscreen. Through the analysis and questioning of these four characteristics, along with the contraposing with contraposing of them with the mechanisms of the affects of innocence, it is possible to understand how the film enabled such extreme reactions amidst the Brazilian public.

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