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Mock ClassicismLatin American Film Comedy, 1930-1960$
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Nilo Couret

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520296848

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520296848.001.0001

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Fictions of the Real

Fictions of the Real

The Currency of the Brazilian Chanchada

(p.153) Chapter 4 Fictions of the Real
Mock Classicism

Nilo Couret

University of California Press

The Brazilian chanchada, or musical comedy, is a popular genre from the golden age of Brazilian cinema with a substantial Portuguese-language academic literature. Instead of retreading these ontogenetic arguments, this chapter argues the transition from musicarnavalesco to chanchada in light of the Estado Novo implementation of centralized monetary policy and the currency conversion to the Cruzeiro. As money (ex)changes, there is less agreement on evaluative criteria, auguring a crisis of valuation that subtends debates around the value of the genre. Making film a better commodity in an economy of desmedida undergoing a crisis of value presents challenges at levels material (currency restrictions shaped the development of the industry) and aesthetic (money as a form of economic symbolization coincides with the rise of fictionality). Classicism is mocked once more, now discussed in relation to the rise of fictionality rather than the codification of the classical realist text. The chanchada designates a certain intensification of fictionality where we actively feel the tension between the narrativized diegesis, the singularity of the comedic effect, and the present tense of the spectator.

Keywords:   Brazilian cinema, chanchada, carnival, fictionality, New Economic Criticism, desmedida, musical

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