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NORMA BENGELL

About Norma Bengell
By Tata Amaral (filmmaker)

“... However, female characters and actresses are illuminated: Norma’s Bengell’s performance in Os cafajestes, by Ruy Guerra, is unforgettable. The actress Leila Diniz stamps the new woman on the screen, with Todas as mulheres do mundo, by Domingos de Oliveira. Odete Lara – who acts alongside Norma Bengell – also has a memorable role in Noite vazia, by Walter Hugo Khouri.”
In: Evolução Histórica e as Mulheres no Cinema Brasileiro, april 2003

About Norma Bengell

Norma Bengell is one of Brazilian cinema’s fundamental actresses. A successful star of Carlos Machado’s troupe, a model and singer, Norma Bengell had an exalted debut in cinema with a cover of Brigitte Bardot and seducing Oscarito in the burlesque classic O homem do sputnik, by Carlos Manga, in 1959.
In 1962, she experienced two marks of her career and of national cinema: the scandal of the first frontal nude in the history of Brazilian cinema in Ruy Guerra’s masterpiece, Os cafajestes; and the prostitute Mari in the only Brazilian film that has ever won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, O pagador de promessas by Anselmo Duarte.
In: the website Mulheres do Cinema brasileiro

About Vestido de Noiva (version 2008)
By Sérgio Salvia Coelho

Elegant and ironic, Norma Bengell is the highlight of the cast... Another great point made is that Norma Bengell, contradicting the malicious rumors, is doing very well, thank you very much, and continues to be one of the country’s best actresses.
Fundamental to director Rodolfo Garcia’s multimedia reference to cinema glamour, Bengell knows how to keep being the muse with a melodious and precise voice, elegant gestures and huge personal charm, and also knows how to jump out of this with a childlike self-irony.
In Folha de São Paulo, 16/02/08

About Cordélia Brasil
By Sérgio Salvia Coelho

Staged to scare the bourgeoisie in that bittersweet year of 1968, with authoritarian laws and the Beatles’ White Album, the play Cordélia Brasil made the name of its author, Antonio Bivar… Forbidden by censorship while still in rehearsal stage… the play could only open at Teatro Mesbla thanks to the efforts of intellectuals who watched a clandestine reading in Danuza Leão’s apartment. Initially directed by Emílio di Biasi, who would get up on stage when the play arrived at Teatro de Arena, and starring the brave muse Norma Bengell, who attracted an astonished audience, the production won all the awards of the time, was classified by Jornal do Brasil critic Yan Michalski as “one of the most poetic contributions to the anthology of our flowering tropicalism” and, 20 years later, the text was already described by another important critic, Sábato Magaldi, as “a classic of the Brazilian modern repertoire”.
In: Folha de São Paulo 26/07/2008

About Os Cafajestes
By Inácio Araújo
“One day it will be necessary to reevaluate Jece Valadão’s role as a producer. Among the jewels he carried out, Os Cafajestes, by Ruy Guerra, has a central place. Jece and Daniel Filho are the sadistic young men who take girls out in their big cars and take photographs of them in compromising situations so as to blackmail them later. The film, of 1962, rhymes sexuality with aggression, the negation of women. It is, in short, a beautiful, extremely talented document about sexual repression in a Brazil that was beginning to modernize itself. The scene where Norma Bengell is left naked on a beach is a masterpiece, of eroticism or whatever else one wants. It’s a film that must be seen, whatever it takes.”
In: Folha de São Paulo 17/08/2002

About the concert at the Architecture school

In August 1959, the law students of Rio de Janeiro’s Catholic University (PUC) decided to organize a concert with Bossa Nova artists. The main attractions would be the already established Sylvia Telles and Alaíde Costa, as well as the star Norma Bengell, who would show off her singing talents as well as her physical attributes. The invited musicians would be Roberto Menescal, Luiz Carlos Vinhas, Carlos Lyra, Nara Leão, Normando Santos, Chico Feitosa and the Castro Neves brothers, among others. (…)
The PUC priests authorized the concert, on one condition: the removal of Norma Bengell, whose presence at the Catholic university had been vetoed. As the organizers did not want to do without her presence (“the gang was the gang…”), the show ended up being transferred to the Architecture School in the neighborhood of Praia Vermelha. The Norma veto episode made the pages of the newspapers, which covered it extensively. The result was that, on the day of the performance, September 22, hundreds of people gathered at the architecture school’s doors to watch the “forbidden show”. In spite of the performance’s obvious amateurism, the night was a success. Norma Bengell performed dressed all in black and was given a standing ovation, presenting five songs from the album Ooooooh Norma! , which she had recorded with Odeon. (…)
In: Revista Caras - Special June 1996 Issue.

About Eternamente Pagu

Eternamente Pagu is an excellent national film. Performed by the actress and filmmaker Norma Bengell, the film narrates the life of the beautiful modernist poet and left-wing militant Patrícia Galvão, at the same time criticizing the hypocritical bourgeoisie of the time. Norma Bengell’s direction is consistently good. Eternamente Pagu also counts with a first-rate cast, from which the magnificent performance of Carla Camurati stands out.”
In: the website 65 anos de cinema.pro.br