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Olhar Contestado

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Contestado was the largest caboclo civil war in Brazilian history. Superior to Canudos, at all levels. Political, bellicose, social. The Contestado's region was a land where troops would pass by... when coming from Rio Grande do Sul and going to São Paulo. It was a region of very lush natural fields... intercalated by araucarias' forests. The caboclo population from the Contestado was a mixture... of all the people who... in a way, composed the cultural mosaic of southern Brazil. Therefore they were the reminiscent... of the Farroupilha Revolution... of Juliana's Republic from Santa Catarina... from the civil war known as the Federalist Revolution... from Paraguay's War... from the "quilombolas"... from the Kaingang Indians and others. As well as, of course.... from European reminiscences. The world of the caboclo from the Contestado... is the world of ignorance. The Contestado is marked by the lack of everything. It lacks in health, it lacks in school, it lacks in State. This region is, somehow... the typical Brazilian inland, where the State dos not arrive. He came, in 1891... from an adventurous spirit. He left his parents home and went after adventure. And he did find it, he worked as a tile maker... he worked in lumber-mills... in the yerba mate harvest. and later, when he was already on his thirties, I think... he started studying photography in Argentina. He is a character of itinerant trajectories. He was a man who had the ability... to do jobs which involved... manual skills, in a place... in a time when this was a trump card. Percival Farquhar... was a big businessman... from the end of the XIX century, beginning of XX century... so you notice his presence in many continents... in many places at the same time. So Percival will become the owner... of these lands that run along the railway... building the railway with many curves... and getting inside the lands where these caboclos from the Contestado live. These people will be removed. what causes this guerrilla war... was the expulsion of these caboclos... who, in a certain way, lived along the railway... and had their lands taken away... and given to the foreigner capital. Therefore they will fight for their right to the land. The forest, this geographic space... was fundamental to their subsistence. Percival Farquhar will bring his bodyguards... many of them foreigners... to expropriate these caboclos who lived there for centuries. The Lumber Company... had a primordial role... in the Contestado land. To start with, for Brazil's modernization... Lumber meant technique... arriving at an archaic world. Lumber was then one of the largest lumber mills settled up... in Brazil at that time. and maybe one of the biggest in the world. And it did build, in Parana and Santa Catarina land... at the Contestado's territory at the time... a small city, a small country. A fragment of the United States... who commemorates the 4th of July. All these fell upon the caboclo. Lumber fell upon the caboclo... not only by taking his right to the land. Lumber took away his life. his dignity, took away his right to be Brazilian. The Contestado was marked by a rustic Catholicism. Different from the traditional and official ... Catholicism which you had in the cities and villages in Brazil. This Catholicism which marked the caboclo's social world. Was the herbal healer's Catholicism... the Catholicism of the monks who passed through those lands... from time to time... bringing the latest news, the good news... who read the bible with them... because they were also a people who didn't have the chance to go to school. and they cured, they cured their souls, with prayers... or even with broom weed's tea... and they cured ulcers with broom weed's tea. As soon as Parana's government, at the time... was told that a group of people... had crossed the boundary of the Irani's region... and sent, just after, Coronel João Gualberto... to dissuade these people from staying in Parana's land. Or what was considered to be Parana's land. When passing by União da Vitória... he met my grandfather, who was a photographer... and he took some pictures. Of his troop, and of himself, on a horse. One can say that he was the only photographer... who was there at the time... and who was able to register in pictures... the episodes which took place since then. It is also possible to say that... by the political precautions Coronel João Gualberto had taken... regarding the Parana's political life at the time... that his interest was to immortalize... his passage in the land of the Contestado. It was in his interests... to create a kind of statement... to have his mission... transformed into an heroic mission.. With João Gualberto's death in the Irani... we'll have a four year of Civil War. That means, Parana and Santa Catarina will not have the power... to politically sustain the region... because of their anxiety, and because of the violent political... and economic situation going on in the Contestado. You'll have three federal forces... expeditions sent to Contestado.. My father was hired by Lumber... to do the coverage of the lumber mill. So he moved to Três Barras, in 1914, with his family. The executives of the company... asked him to make some photographic work... so they could send it to the United Sates... to show their bosses what they were doing in Brazil. The "vaqueanos" role in the Contestado... was important at a time when the official military forces... federal or state forces, were still insignificant.. Therefore they do not manage to finish... to end a war which occupied such a big geographic area. That's why they have to hire the mercenaries. These mercenaries they hired were the"vaqueanos". The "vaqueano", because he was a man from the bush... he was a man used to pick people up... to pick things up, in the forest... evidently he had a good geographic knowledge... of the Contestado. But it is important to emphasize that... they, in a certain way, were going to guide also... the army soldiers... to the battlefield. Only one expedition managed to eliminate Canudos. But to eliminate the Contestado four years... and three expeditions were needed. During these four years, the caboclo... just as the Vietnamese people... won the military forces. Because the caboclo knew every cave... every empty stump of a tree. And he made ambushes against the Brazilian army... who loses every battle. The army will only win... in the 1915 battle, during the Bloody Easter... which was the bloodiest Easter in the history of Brazil. It is when you already have the mapping of the region... when you already have some caboclos handed in... or co-opted by the army, like Alemãozinho... who was photographed by Claro Jansson. and they ended up showing the paths... the tracks which took the army to the middle of the Contestado. Of all the compilation which I verified... there are no spontaneous pictures. pictures where the personages are taken by surprise. I would call attention to the pictures... from the period which was at the end of the conflict. These pictures are pictures of redemption. In one of these pictures, one of the rebel leaders... known as Bonifacio Papudo... he is in front of a military man... and this military man had a pointing finger at him... as if saying "now you are going to listen... to a lecture, you will be reprehended". If you look at this picture in an inattentive way... you will easily believe it is a flagrant picture. It isn't. It is a rehearsed picture. It was fundamental that the army could show... especially to the Republic capital... that the relationship that they had with the rebels... was not a disloyal relationship... it was not a cruel relationship... of excessive violence... instead, it was a pondered treatment. And if you pick the other pictures... showing rebels... they are usually seated... usually in an inferior level. Therefore I believe that it represents a subordination situation. "We lost, we have been defeated... it is so that we are here receiving food ... from the army who is doing us a kind of favor." "Look, I have just lost my land,... I have just been exiled from the life style... that my ancestors had since immemorial times... and now all I get is... a piece of meat from the government". It is a picture which carries... a very deep symbolic violence. They had an ideological role... of showing what the Contestado wasn't: a civilized war. Further on, it is important to remember... that these images were produced... more than a century ago... today they will obviously not be... read the same way. The more we move away from the episode... the more theses pictures gain a kind of aura... a distinguishable importance. I believe that today... these pictures can be seen... as visual documentation of a modernization project... which impact has not yet been fully understood. I think Claro Jansson believed he was a technician.... and not an artist. I do not believe he had this vision of himself. As well as I think he didn't imagine... his job would have such a repercussion... so many years after his death. But he registers passages... which are fundamental to understand the Contestado... or to open questions about the Contestado. The Contestado is a war... full of interrogations, full of doubts... of what really happened. He had a role, a didactic role... of leaving images from that historical moment... which in a certain way, would be invisible without him. The most famous picture, in my conception... of Carlo Jansson, is the one of the caboclos... or of the mercenaries... or of a group which was chosen very carefully... to show a bit of all colours and people... which were fighting in the Contestado. He manages, through his reading his view... his look, his sensibility... to photograph, very closely, the face of a caboclo... or of a non-caboclo inhabitant from the region. He allows seeing... the invisibility of a people who, in a certain way, has not existed. They officially existed... to legitimate the process. but they did not exist at the time of conceding... the land to foreigners. and as the war ended, they really stopped existing. They were invisible until the end of the dictatorship... in 1985.

Video Details

Duration: 15 minutes
Country: Brazil
Producer: fabianne batista balvedi
Director: fabianne batista balvedi
Views: 122
Posted by: fabs on Feb 28, 2013

Este documentário aborda um episódio acontecido quase 15 anos após o término da Guerra de Canudos. Com proporções e significado semelhantes, a Guerra do Contestado conflagrou-se numa região do sul do Brasil cuja posse era disputada pelos estados do Paraná e Santa Catarina.

Além do importante caráter histórico/documental, o filme se destaca pelo fato de ser aberto (filme e fontes disponibilizados livremente) e ter sido produzido com ferramentas livres.

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