Special Invitation Films

The Masters and the Slaves

Casa Grande & Senzala
- Part 1: Gilberto Freyre—A Modern Cabral
Part 2: The Indian Woman, The Matriarch of the Brazilian Family
Part 3: The Portuguese, Colonizers of the Tropics
Part 4: The Negro Slave in the Sexual and Family Life of the Brazilian

BRAZIL / 2001 / Portuguese / Color, B&W / Video / 228 min

Director: Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Script: Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Edson Nery da Fonseca
Photogaphy: José Guerra
Editing: Júlio Souto, ABC
Sound: Juarez Dagoberto, Bruno Fernandes
Music: Heitor Villa Lobos’ “Descobrimento do Brazil suite” and others
Exective Producers: Mauricio Andrade Ramos, Marcia Pereira dos Santos
Director of Production: Jean Robert
Cast: Edson Nery da Fonseca, Vânia Terra, Gheuza Sena, Ellyne Peixoto, Helena Menezes
Production Companies: Regina Filmes, Videofilmes, GNT-Globosat
Source: Videofilmes
Praça Nossa Senhora da Glória, 46, Glória, Rio de Janeiro 22211-110 BRASIL
Phone: 55-21-25560810 Fax: 55-21-22055247

The Masters and the Slaves is a four-part television adaptation of anthropologist Gilberto Freyre’s 1933 masterwork of the same name. In the first part, “Gilberto Freyre—A Modern Cabral,” a professor dressed as Freyre’s friend, the writer Edson Nery da Fonseca, explains to a female student the steps involved in writing the book and the reaction to Freyre’s work when it was first published. Part Two, “The Indian Woman, The Matriarch of the Brazilian Family.” features a dialogue between the professor and a different student about the encounter between the Brazilian Indians and Europeans, and interviews with students are interspersed with shooting for the video adaptation of the book. Part Three, “The Portuguese, Colonizers of the Tropics ,” discusses the roots of the colonists, assumed to originally include the influence of various races, in Portugal. Part Four, “The Negro Slave in the Sexual and Family Life of the Brazilian,” speaks of the lifestyles and sexual relations of the masters and the slaves, including a section on sadism, before concluding that all of these aspects have led towards the formation of Brazilian society, in which a variety of racial and social conflicts have been harmonized.

[Director’s Statement] The serial project The Masters and the Slaves was born from a desire to participate in Brazil’s 500th anniversary commemorative celebrations, not as an official, traditional, or nationalistic commemoration, but as a more intimate celebration of what it is to be Brazilian.

What does it mean to be Brazilian? This was the question posed by Gilberto Freyre in his youth when he studied at the cosmopolitan setting of New York’s Columbia University. He investigated the past, both his own and that of his family and the people through whom he was socially conditioned. He studied the formation of Brazilian society, in particular its first three centuries of existence, analyzing the contribution of the indigenous peoples, the Portuguese, and the African Brazilians. He completed his work in 1933, in the form of the great book, The Masters and the Slaves the source of a veritable revolution in the arts and social sciences of Brazil. After this, Brazilian history came to be told in two stages: “Before The Masters and the Slaves” (“BC”) and “After The Masters and the Slaves” (“AC”).


- Nelson Pereira dos Santos

Born 1928 in São Paulo. Attended IDHEC (now known as FEMIS). After returning to Brazil, directed two independently-produced shorts. In 1955, directed his first feature, Rio 40 Degrees shot locally with nonprofessional actors. Became a leading filmmaker in the Brazilian Cinema Nuovo movement of the 1960s and 1970s with the release of Barren Lives (1963), and was often referred to as the conscience of Cinema Nuovo. Filmography includes Memoirs of Prison (1984), and War and Liberty—Castro Alves in São Paulo (1998). Head of the jury for the International Competition at YIDFF ’99.

• Special Invitation Films | Manzan Benigaki | Devotion | Films by Ogawa Productions | Sea of Youth | Summer in Narita | Magino Story—Raising Silkworms | The Long Holiday | In Honor of Teshigahara Hiroshi | Tokyo 1958 | Sculptures by Sofu—Vita | AKO—White Morning | Jose Torres Part II | Domestic Violence | The Masters and the Slaves | Digital Short Films by Three Filmmakers | Festival Trailer Compilation Film