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Foundational FilmsEarly Cinema and Modernity in Brazil$
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Maite Conde

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520290983

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520290983.001.0001

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Fabricating Discipline and Progress in São Paulo, Symphony of a Metropolis

Fabricating Discipline and Progress in São Paulo, Symphony of a Metropolis

(p.224) 10 Fabricating Discipline and Progress in São Paulo, Symphony of a Metropolis
Foundational Films

Maite Conde

University of California Press

A common focus of the international cinematic avant-garde during the 1920s was the power and excitement of cities, something that gave rise in both Europe and the United States to a genre of films known as "city symphonies." Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand's Manhatta (1921), André Sauvage's Études sur Paris (1928), Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera (1929), and Walter Ruttmann’s Berlin: Die Sinfonie Der Großstadt (1927) were examples of this genre. Such films inspired São Paulo: A sinfonia da metrópole, which is analyzed here. Made by Hungarian filmmakers, Rodolfo Lustig and Adalberto Kemeny, the Brazilian film typically documents a day in the life of São Paulo, exalting its urban dynamic as a sign of the city’s and country’s modernity. In examining São Paulo: A sinfonia da metrópole, this chapter shows that while it expresses the city’s speed brought by the experience of modernity, it also departs from its international inspirations to triumphantly project the discipline of labor, projected as a sign of order and progress, which is ultimately projected by the state.

Keywords:   Urban Symphony Films, São Paulo: A sinfonia da metropole, Adalberto Kemeny, Rodolfo Lustig, São Paulo, labor

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