Finding redemption by educating the masses: the shift in Portuguese intellectual discourses around silent cinema
A procura da redenção mediante a educação das massas: a mudança nos discursos dos intelectuais portugueses sobre o cinema mudo
In this article I aim to identify, among the various discourses that were elaborated about the effects of cinema during the first decades of the twentieth century, those that were central reactions of the Portuguese intellectual elite during the decade from 1914 to 1924. While in the mid-1910s, cinema was severely critiqued for its demoralizing effect on the masses, at the beginning of the 1920s a difference was coined between the cinema made abroad and the “typical Portuguese” cinema. The hypothesis that I develop is that the main reason that nuanced the discourse against cinema was the beginning of a precarious film production industry in Porto and Lisbon that lasted from 1918 to 1925. In this sense, cinema found redemption in its indoctrinating potential, reason why part of the intellectuality and bourgeoisie argued to work in cinema, despite its inherent contradictions. In addition, the modernist discourse in favor of mass culture imported from the United States and symbolized by cinema gained strength after the First World War. In this article, the dynamic between rejection and acceptance is exemplified by the writer and film producer Virgínia de Castro e Almeida’s trajectory, who, in 1922, created Fortuna Films and produced two feature films with a pedagogic and patriotic mission, although, in 1914, she had warned about the harmful effects of cinema in the masses’ moral.
Direitos de Autor (c) 2022 Elena Cordero Hoyo
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Artigo aceite em 2022-09-27
Artigo publicado em 2022-09-28