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Chanchadas and intermediality: on musical numbers of Aviso aos Navegantes (Watson Macedo, Brazil, 1950)

Costa, F. C. and Gibbs, J. ORCID: (2020) Chanchadas and intermediality: on musical numbers of Aviso aos Navegantes (Watson Macedo, Brazil, 1950). Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 19. pp. 28-30. ISSN 2009-4078

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To link to this item DOI: 10.33178/alpha.19.03


This audiovisual essay explores the intermedial nature of Brazilian film comedies produced during the 1940s and 1950s, by exploring the musical numbers of Aviso aos Navegantes (Watson Macedo, Atlântida Cinematográfica, 1950). Brazilian cinema of this period is a privileged arena of different media strategies. Its ‘mixed’ style is informed by Hollywood cinema but also by the domestic influence of radio, carnival, and by the local forms of comic staging of the teatro de revista (the Brazilian equivalent of music hall or vaudeville). Of particular interest in this regard are the chanchadas, a body of films made between the mid-1930s and the early 1960s, that presented musical performances intertwined with comic situations, slender narrative lines and strong connections with the world of carnival. Our aim is to show how the relationships between the different forms of cultural production in 1950s Brazil can be identified in a specific chanchada, opening a dialogue between musical performances on stage, over the radio, at carnival and on screen. The essay also examines similarities and differences between chanchadas and Hollywood musical comedy tradition. One area explored is integration, both in the sense in which it is often used in film studies, to discuss the relationship between the numbers and the narrative, and in reflecting on whether the different elements which feed into the numbers of Aviso aos Navegantes are seamlessly combined in the film. Despite the huge popular success of his films, Watson Macedo was considered by many as the most “Americanized” of the directors of that period, adhering less to the critical mechanisms of parody than was the case with his contemporaries. However, if we pay attention to Macedo’s musical numbers, it is evident that these performances are not imperfect copies of Hollywood originals, but have a logic of their own. The audiovisual essay complements Flavia Cesarino Costa’s other article for this issue of Alphaville, ‘Building an integrated history of musical numbers in Brazilian chanchadas’, by exploring related ideas in the context of a single film. As well as the interest of the essay’s own exploration and argument, the pairing of essays – traditional and videographic – enables readers of the special issue to pursue their thinking about chanchadas and intermediality with specific audiovisual material in front of them.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:83782
Uncontrolled Keywords:chanchada, Aviso aos Navegantes, watson macedo, Oscarito, Eliana Macedo, Grande Otelo, Emilinha Borba, Jorge Goulart, Bene Nunes, Francisco Carlos, Juliana Yanakiewa, intermediality, carnival, record, teatro de revista
Publisher:University College, Cork


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