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Movement in defense of Cinemateca marks new act against neglect of the Bolsonaro government

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São Paulo – The dramatic scenario of the Brazilian Cinematheque, which has been fighting for survival for seven months amid the budgetary asphyxiation promoted by the Bolsonaro government, causes artists, workers and researchers to carry out another public act in defense of the space that houses the largest collection audiovisual of South America. Next Tuesday (14), from 4 pm to 6 pm, the movement will make a laser projection on the facade of the Cinematheque, in Vila Clementino, in São Paulo, and a symbolic “hug”, respecting the wearing masks and social distancing.

Since December, the institution responsible for the preservation and diffusion of Brazilian audiovisual production has not received federal funds. Employees have been without their wages for at least three months. A virtual cowgirl raised R $ 125,000 to cover all the work of the employees, who in parallel circulate the petition online Cinematheque calls for help.

The picture, however, continues to worsen. The outsourced company, responsible for maintaining the necessary air conditioners to keep the films in the correct humidity and temperature, stopped providing services. On the 26th, the fire brigade also disbanded. And the forecast is that on the 15th, the entire area of ​​24 thousand meters, which houses 250 thousand rolls of films, will be without security. This Tuesday (7), Cinemateca workers went on strike for the third time.

Repeating the tragedy of the National Museum of Rio

“It would not be our wish to be in an act, in a demonstration in the middle of a pandemic. Many of us are old, we shouldn’t be there, but duty as citizens and film professionals calls us to be there. This fight is ours. We are going to enforce our duty so that a tragedy does not happen as it happened with the National Historical Museum ”, explains historian Eloá Chouzal, audiovisual researcher, who has worked in the area for over 30 years and is a member of the Audiovisual Preservation Association.

In an interview with journalist Marilu Cabañas, Current Brazil Newspaper, she recalls the fire of the National Museum in Rio in September 2018, which turned 20 million items from a collection of historical heritage to ash.

A neglect that is repeated when seven months ago the Ministry of Education (MEC) ended the contract with the Educational Communication Association Roquette Pinto (Acerp). According to Elóa, the social organization is the manager of Cinemateca and also the director of TV Escola. This was a large contract, signed in 2015, but which in 2018 received an additive, adding as the addendum to the Cinematheque.

The contract was due to expire on December 30, and the portfolio did not want to renew it. The additive, however, validated the maintenance of the agreement with the audiovisual institution until March 2021. “This legal split caused Acerp to continue to believe that the government was going to pay the things it owed. The government did not pay and we are in this situation ”.

Imbroglio

Only on the last 24th, after promising former Special Secretary for Culture Regina Duarte, a position that did not even exist, did the Bolsonaro government show itself open to discussion. The Minister of Tourism, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, met with the social organization at the Cinemateca, accompanied by the new Secretary of Culture, Mário Frias. The meeting was to address the imbroglio that has been going on for months. The historian says that the employees were even hopeful that there would be a quick agreement in the face of the emergency that the situation requires. To date, however, no resolution has been announced.

“We know that there is a charge by the Federal Public Ministry, both on Acerp and on the government. Because it is a tremendous responsibility to lose such a collection, and it is also a matter of responsibility to workers. A collection cannot live without these people taking care of it. We are panicking about this situation ”, describes Elóa.

Resistance history

The history of the Cinematheque was never really smooth. It has already withstood four fires, floods, one of them recent, in the Vila Leopoldina deposit, west of São Paulo. Even so, there are also glories. There are 44 thousand titles of short, medium and feature films. There are television programs, football matches and advertising films in the collection.

The space, which was once considered the fifth cinematheque in the world, is the first place of contact with cinema for many children in public schools. It also contains the entire collection of letters, films and scripts by filmmaker Glauber Rocha. The place houses a public and private collection. Producers and families who are unable to store the negatives, leave the material in the care of the Cinematheque.

These are the “works of a lifetime”, as Eloá points out, that are in the institution’s collection. But, mainly, it is a whole cultural heritage of the country. “And we are in a situation of poverty, with workers making a cow to be able to pay their bills and eat. It’s really rock bottom, ”he laments.

“We are engaged as professionals and Brazilian citizens in this fight for the Cinemateca. We will not admit that this happens with the Cinemateca Brasileira. We are demanding the government because it is their duty to take care of this public heritage. There are not only the images and this collection, there is a technological park that was bought with public money, with telecines and expensive equipment. It is the government’s duty to maintain this ”, concludes the historian.

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Economy

Killed by explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, reach 137

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São Paulo – Ammonium nitrate, a material used in explosives and fertilizers used in agriculture, may be responsible for the explosions that devastated this Tuesday (4) the port region of Beirut, in Lebanon. There are already 137 dead, according to the balance of this Thursday (6) of the spokesman of the Ministry of Health of the country. Dozens more are still missing and more than 5,000 are injured.

There is still no concrete information on the cause of the two explosions. According to Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud, they were said to have occurred shortly after a fire in a port depot that stored a large amount of ammonium nitrate. A team of firefighters was called to the scene to control the fire. And then there was a first explosion, weaker, followed by a second strong one.

According to the director general of General Security Abbas Ibrahim, the main hypothesis is that the explosions are actually related to potentially explosive materials, which would be stored in the warehouse for six years and without the necessary security.

Yesterday, Lebanese authorities announced that officials responsible for the port will be under house arrest until suspicions are proven. The same material would have been responsible for similar tragedies in Germany and the United States.

Geopolitics and the explosions in Beirut

President of the Arab Culture Institute, Mohamed Habib confirms that nitrate salts can be flammable depending on the physical conditions in which they are stored. But in an interview with Marilu Cabañas, Newspaper Brasil Atual, the professor at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) also considers that other hypotheses cannot be ruled out by the authorities.

A specialist in the field of Environmental Sciences and former coordinator of International Relations at Unicamp, Habib explains that it is “difficult in the current reality in the Middle East and Lebanon to try to imagine or estimate suspects. The scenario is so complex that it is difficult to say whether an accident was a natural incident. Or an act committed in an illegal and criminal way ”, he observes.

Due to the damage caused by the explosion that left thousands homeless and was felt throughout the expanded city, the professor raises doubts about the risk of an attack such as those committed against neighboring countries, such as Iran. The country has come from a series of protests since last year. There is great social dissatisfaction with the political class, with a scenario of high unemployment, uncontrolled inflation and currency devaluation.

Habid also remembers Lebanon’s external conflicts with Israel. Israeli officials quickly came forward to declare that they had not carried out any attacks, sympathizing with the Lebanese people. The quick defense was not for nothing. In his social networks, the professor of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP) Reginaldo Nasser, points out that, in 2006, Israel was responsible for surrounding Beirut and launching a rain of bombs that, equally, devastated the Lebanese capital.

People to rise

A sentence on the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who died 15 years ago in an explosion in the port of Beirut, would also be announced on Friday. The trial was postponed to August 28. ”Whether it has anything to do with it or not, we don’t know. There are several components, whether internal disturbance, or external. Even Donald Trump’s own re-election, which could also benefit from such a disorder. Everything is possible in the current situation ”, he says.

Whatever the causes, the suffering and pain of the Lebanese people remain enormous, says Habib. And also for the Lebanese community that lives in Brazil and among Syrian and Palestinian refugees. According to the United Nations (UN), 928,000 expatriates live in Lebanon, equivalent to 13.6% of the population.

“The world seems to me to have become smaller and the suffering seems to me to be felt faster and faster. A pandemic is a global pain, just as a war is a global pain. The whole world is suffering, ”laments the president of the Arab Culture Institute in Brazil.

Check out the interview

Copywriting: Clara Assunção. Edition: Glauco Faria

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