When Walter Salles began making feature films in the early 1990s, Brazilian cinema was at one of its lowest ebbs, occupying at one point less than 1% of the domestic marketplace.1 Struggling in the 1980s, the industry was completely derailed by newly-elected President Fernando Collor de Mello's 1990 austerity program, which included a freeze on all personal savings accounts and the closure of Embrafilme, the government agency that had supported filmmaking since 1969. Any Brazilian filmmaker in this period would have needed to go outside the country for work, or at least for international financing. As a result, for his feature debut in 1991, Salles directed an English-language coproduction titled Exposure, a thriller based on A Grande Arte (1983) (High Art, 1987) by popular Brazilian novelist Rubem Fonseca. The film stars Peter Coyote as Peter Mandrake, an American photographer-turneddetective living in Rio de Janeiro, who learns the art of knife-fighting to avenge his near-death at the hands of knife-wielding assailants. Set in Brazil and Bolivia, the movie anticipates the borderless character of Salles' later films, in particular Terra Estrangeira (Foreign Land) (1995), Central do Brasil (Central Station) (1998), and Los Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries) (2004), whose
symploke – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 2, 2008
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