Pereira dos Santos, Nelson (1928--) By Baker, Peter
Nelson Pereira dos Santos (born in 1928 in São Paulo) is a Brazilian actor, screenwriter, film critic and theorist, producer, and director. He can be considered the initiator of modern Brazilian cinema. His first feature, Rio: 40 Graus [Rio 100 Degrees F.] (1955), jump-started the cinema nôvo [New Cinema] movement that would dominate Brazilian vanguard cinema throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Throughout more than fifty years of filmmaking, Pereira dos Santos has continued to shape the Brazilian screen. Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês [How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman] (1971) is his most internationally known film; a departure from his earlier neorealist style, it started a more self-critical phase that reflects on the instability of all ideologies and registers the disappointment with the left in Brazil following the onset of the military dictatorship in 1964. The late 1970s films attempted to create what he called a popular cinema, rejected theoretical treatment, and sought to convey the views of ordinary citizens. He has continued to be an influential filmmaker in the so-called New Brazilian Cinema of the 1990s and today, with political films such as Brasilia 18% (2006). The majority of his films are based on literary adaptations from Brazilian authors. Since 2006 he have been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters—the first filmmaker to be nominated.