Accessibility navigation

Back to the margins in search of the core: "Foreign Land"'s geography of exclusion

Nagib, L. ORCID: (2010) Back to the margins in search of the core: "Foreign Land"'s geography of exclusion. In: Iordanova, D., Martin-Jones, D. and Vidal, B. (eds.) Cinema at the periphery. Wayne State University Press, Detroit, pp. 190-210. ISBN 9780814333884

Full text not archived in this repository.

It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.


The crisis of the national project in the early 1990s, caused by a short-lived but disastrous government, led Brazilian art cinema, for the first time, to look at itself as periphery and re-approach the old colonial center, Portugal. Terra estrangeira/Foreign Land (Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas, Brazil/Portugal, 1995), a film about Brazilian exiles in Portugal, is the best illustration of this perspective shift which provides a new sense of Brazil’s scale and position within a global context. Shot mainly on location in São Paulo, Lisbon and Cape Verde, it promotes the encounter of Lusophone peoples who find a common ground in their marginal situation. Rather than as a former empire, Portugal is defined by its situation at the edge of Europe and by beliefs such as Sebastianism, whose origins go back to the time when the country was dominated by Spain. As a result, notions of “core” or “center” are devolved to the realm of myth. The film’s carefully crafted dialogue combines Brazilian, Portuguese and Creole linguistic peculiarities into a common dialect of exclusion, while language puns trigger visual rhymes which refer back to the Cinema Novo (the Brazilian New Wave) repertoire and restage the imaginary of the discovery turned into unfulfilled utopia. The main characters also acquire historical resonances, as they are depicted as descendants of Iberian conquistadors turned into smugglers of precious stones in the present. Their activities define a circuit of international exchange which resonates with that of globalized cinema, a realm in which Foreign Land, made up of citations and homage to other cinemas, tries to retrieve a sense of belonging.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:32080
Uncontrolled Keywords:Walter Salles Daniela Thomas Foreign Land (Terra Estrangeira) Brazilian Cinema
Publisher:Wayne State University Press

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation