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NELSON PEREIRA DOS SANTOS

Rio, 40 graus
by Clóvis de Castro Ramon

"(...) the most legitimate artistic expression of our (Brazilian) cinema"
in: Jornal do Brasil.

Vidas secas
by Cláudio Mello e Souza

"(...) more than the best (Brazilian) film, it’s the founder of a Brazilian cinematographic language. (...) With Vidas secas we gained a true, and for this reason new, national cinema"
in: Estado de Minas, de 20.10.1963.

By José Carlos de Oliveira

"With all humility, the camera dedicates itself to the reconstruction, step by step, of the existence of five people (...). Everything is sad and poor, in a Brazilian way. (...) In Vidas secas, Nelson Pereira dos Santos shows what he really is: a brilliant artist and a man of dignity."
in: Jornal do Brasil, de 26.08.1963.

By Dan Talbott

"Filmes como Vidas secas são universais. Poderia ser sobre a Índia ou a China, ou uma parte pobre dos Estados Unidos. É como uma história bíblica, é uma obra-prima."
in: New Yorker Films.

Como era gostoso o meu francês
by José Carlos Monteiro

"Films like Vidas secas are universal. It could be about India or China, or a poor part of the USA. It’s a kind of biblical story, a masterpiece."

On Como era gostoso o meu francês

"(...) the documentary style of the narrative is its greatest virtue. (...) For reasons of temperament and ideology, the author of Vidas secas sought to show the raw reality of the lives of the first settlers of Brazil, using a genuinely Brazilian film language. In terms of creativity, I can say that Nelson’s work in his new film is one of the greatest yet seen in Brazilian cinema."
in: O Globo, em 12.01.1972.

By Roger Greenspun

"Como era gostoso o meu francês aims to be a meditation on the past, and perhaps the future, of Brazil. Ironic, often funny, it mixes its fictional drama with references to economic, social and religious history. In portraying the indians, it does so with great care (there’s an elaborate indian village, which looks like a suberp animated reconstruction taken out of a book) and if at times they suggest the noble savage too strongly, at least there’s an attempt at realism. (...) This is the first absolutely non-exploitative (and non-erotic) film I’ve seen that requires the almost total nudity of both sexes of its cast. (...) But in the end, the film is not in fact that funny, nor does it in reality pretend to be so. An extremely uneven work, its best scenes are the most serious – especially one close to the end when the indian wife describes to her captive husband the details of his death ritual. (...) It’s an adorable performance and, in its respect for space and movement, seems very close to the spirit of classic cinema."
in: The New York Times, em 07.04.1973.

Memórias do cárcere

"Seeing Nelson Pereira dos Santos’ film, we cannot prevent ourselves from thinking about jails; not the real ones – in which the world participates – but in the prisons of egoism, hunger, debt, racism and scorn. The Brazilian film-maker’s humanism is made up of hope, hope that the intellectual will no longer be separated from the world which moves him and makes him live."
J. M. Le Clezio, in Le Nouvel Observateur, May 1985.

"Nobody doubts that Nelson has really become part of the history of cinema. (...) Memórias was a unanimity at Cannes. It’s a mature work, by a film-maker at his peak."
Rubens Ewald Filho, in O Estado de São Paulo, 25.05.84.

Taken from the book "Nelson Pereira dos Santos – O sonho possível do cinema brasileiro", by Helena Salem Editora Record – 2nd. edition.