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Subjectivity at play: American and Brazilian autobiographical films in the late 20th century

Grant number: 23/11944-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2024
Effective date (End): October 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Arts - Cinema
Principal Investigator:Esther Império Hamburger
Grantee:Hanna Henck Dias Esperança
Supervisor: Michael Renov
Host Institution: Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Southern California (USC), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:21/11712-8 - The cinema of Olga Futemma: the trajectory of an intercultural experience, BP.DR

Abstract

This research project questions whether it is possible to draw parallels between Olga Futemma's works and other films made by women and/or Asian Americans with a similar autobiographical approach, especially the ones made in the United States. Daughter of Okinawan immigrants, Olga Futemma has dedicated more than 50 years to film preservation through her work at Cinemateca Brasileira, but between 1971 and 1989 she also worked as a filmmaker (producer, editor, and director). At a time in Brazil when women were just starting to occupy an expressive number of film directing positions, she made five shorts - one fiction and four documentaries, in addition to four institutional films, and six unfunded projects. Aside from one of her shorts, which deals with women steel workers, her production focuses on Japanese immigrants to Brazil, their, and their descendants' lives in the new country. Through an autobiographical and essayistic key, she introduces themes such as identity, memory, and tradition, with special sensibility to the shifting role of women in Okinawan and Brazilian cultures. These themes are pervaded by a clearly stated personal experience, where Futemma interviews and shows family members, narrates in the first person, and evokes with affection her own memories to describe people, places, and history itself. This approach was far from being common in Brazilian's cinematography, where autobiography only marked its debut as a documentary practice in 2001, with Sandra Kogut's A Hungarian Passport. In fact, Futemma filmed during a two-decade period when documentaries were mostly concerned with the representation of the "other", rather than the subjective "I". (AU)

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