Censorship in Brazilian Culture
HUM252 Section 6
Censorship in Brazil has been a major issue throughout its history. We are going to be covering the cultural, civil, and political acts of censorship that occurred in Brazil in many different decades. Our thesis is that censorship was implemented by the Brazilian government in hope of promoting national culture and unity but created fear of repression and expressing emotions and beliefs during the military dictatorship from 1964-1989.
Censorship was an act imparted by the military dictatorship in Brazil. The dictatorship began in the 1960’s, after much opposition, where it lasted for nearly 20 years. The military governments sanctioned a restrictive constitution that ruled against freedom of speech and political opposition with support from the U.S. government. This was in hope of creating a more unified culture and to eliminate signals of opposition and to prevent rise of communism in the Americas.
The government started abducting and detaining those who were suspected to be involved in political activities against the government. It was only necessary that the citizens retaliated. Many students, catholic church members, and workers would form groups that opposed military rule. In 1969, a revolutionary movement happened by the kidnapping of the U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Charles Burke Elbrick. This act was done by students who demanded the release those imprisoned and tortured by the military in exchange for the ambassador. The government responded brutally, regressing the armed opposition movement.
The Tropicalia movement started the expression of opposition in the realm of music. People thought that this was unfair had feared their ability to express themselves and fought back by creating music that expressed their beliefs and how they felt about the government censorship. A lot of songs that included violence, social segregation, and racism were forbidden in order to keep Brazil under control. Many forbidden funk musicians disagreed with the authorities claiming their lyrics talk about their lives as they are in the slums and it is about who they are.
Major popular music artists such as Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso were arrested and exiled for their music, and many more were to follow. The DCDP (Public Entertainment Censorship Department) was an important unit with control over music, as well as theatre, movies, and television. 159 songs were registered as censored by the DCDP in 1973, and the number grew to 458 by 1980. The DCDP claimed each censorship was for the preservation of “morality and good traditions.” In 1986, the Jean-Luc Godard film, Hail Mary, was banned by the Brazilian military claiming that it was insulting to the Christian faith.
A lot of what caused censorship by the Brazilian government was the participation in events promoted by the student movement, and participation in events connected with civil opposition campaigns or entities. Tropicalia fighting censorship had a lot of public support because democracy was all about participation which created hope for promoting national culture and the transition to a unified democratic system. So to conclude, censorship in Brazil embraced the fear of repression and expression of beliefs and emotions, but brought hope through Tropicalia and other civic movements that helped to unify the nation into becoming a stronger democracy.
Brazil: The Music Brazil Doesn’t Want you to be Listening to, Debora Baldello: http://freemuse.org/archives/7892
Exposing Silence as Cultural Censorship: A Brazilian Case, Robin E. Sheriff
Source: American Anthropologist, Vol. 102, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 114-132 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/683542
The Rhythm of Favelas: Brazil’s Booming Funk Music Scene, Claire Baker: https://theculturetrip.com/south-america/brazil/articles/favela-funk-brazil-s-booming-street-music-scene/
Previously Banned, Brazilian Funk Music Takes Center Stage, Emmanuelle Saliba, published July 29th, 2014: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/previously-banned-brazilian-funk-music-takes-center-stage-n167171
The New Brazil, Roett, Riordan: From Backwater to BRIC (1). New York, NY, US: Brookings Institution Press, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 26 March 2017.
Brazil : Five Centuries of Change. Skidmore, Thomas E.. Latin American Histories: Cary, GB: OUP Oxford, 1999. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 26 March 2017.
Four Days in September, Bruno Barreto 1997