This blog is part of the courses on film, art, literature, and media
given by Dr.
Hudson Moura, Toronto, Canada.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Budapest by Walter Carvalho and based on Chico Buarque’s novel.

Budapest (Brazil/Portugal/Hungary, 2009) Directed by Walter Carvalho
Based on Chico Buarque’s novel
Introduced by José Abreu Ferreira
Sessional Instructor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese
University of Toronto

Luso-Brazilian Film Screenings: Literature & Cinema
PLACE: Media Commons Theatre (Robarts Library, 3rd Floor)
DATE: Monday, March 31, 2014
TIME: 6:30pm to 9:30pm

Exile is a recurrent theme in Buarque's life and work. Budapest is the story of José Costa, a writer who finds himself stranded in the Hungarian capital when a bomb scare grounds his plane. Written in Buarque's deceptively spare prose, the book is extraordinary for its observations on language, foreignness and love. 'It should be against the law to mock someone who tries his luck in a foreign language,' begins Costa's journey in a strange land. He embarks upon an affair with a woman who mocks him for his poor sentence construction in a language famously described as the devil's tongue. With thoughts of Rio never far from Costa's mind, the story meanders like the unfolding of consciousness.

What emerges is a humorous and philosophical take on the experience of being abroad. The freedom of seeing the world through new eyes, like a child, is matched by the frustration of being faced with an impenetrable wall of sound. Can anyone escape their mother tongue any more than they can shake their past? The theme came back to haunt Buarque as he worked alongside the translator responsible for the English version of Budapest . He discovered that some things had to be rewritten. 'They did not translate,' he says. (
Jemima Hunt)

It's a story about language and the difficulties involved in living in a place where a language utterly incomprehensible to you is spoken. Buarque's the real deal, hilarious and innovative and deftly profound. The premise of the novel is ridiculous – a Brazilian ghost writer completes his self-effacement by disappearing into Budapest – but Buarque sells it so well that, by the end, your own existence feels equally ridiculous.”

It's a great novel, full of fantasy, absurd and bizarre situations, tragic humour.
Buarque delights in ambiguity, in dissolving the borders between people, places and, indeed, paragraphs. He's poetic, romantic, yet often frustrating. At times, the side-streets become the thoroughfares, resulting in an intriguing but exhausting journey.  The self-referential plot is folded several layers thick. It’s impossible not to appreciate Buarque’s craftsmanship and self-centered.

Budapest's character (Leonardo Medeiros) and author (Chico Buarque) meeting in the film

Chico Buarque has helped define Brazilian culture for the past four decades. In Brazil, he is nothing short of a national treasure. And as the author of Estorvo, Benjamin, Budapest, and Leite Derramado, Buarque has sold nearly half a million copies. His father, Sergio Buarque de Hollanda was then one of Brazil's leading critics and historians. Buarque originally made his name as a musician - albeit one with a strong sense of history. Starting out composing songs in the Sixties, he went on to write hundreds of them. His gift as a social commentator was to inhabit the lives of Brazil's disenfranchised. He sang about street kids, a prostitute given the chance to save the world. 'Construcao', a surrealist fantasy about a construction worker falling to his death became a popular classic, enamouring him to a public struggling with political repression under military rule. He learnt the importance of words at a time when words were banned. In 1968, Buarque's first play, Roda Viva, an anarchic satire, landed him in trouble with the law. Like his fellow musicians - Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, Buarque was forced to flee the country. He went to live in Italy for 18 months.

Jose Abreu Ferreira is a PhD student at the Centre for Comparative Literature and sessional instructor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Toronto. His areas of research interest include post-structural and post-colonial theories; diaspora and transnational studies; immigration and literature; and, immigrant writing in contemporary Portuguese, Brazilian and Canadian literatures.

All movies are in Portuguese with English subtitles. Each movie will be introduced and contextualized by Luso-Brazilian studies specialists, and a Q&A session will follow each screening.

Admission to this event is free, but please take the time to complete our event registration form:
For further information regarding this event, please contact or

Foi quando apareceu aquela que se deitou na minha cama e me ensinou a escrever de trás pra diante. Zelosa dos meus escritos, só ela os sabia ler, mirando-se no espelho, e de noite apagava o que de dia fora escrito, para que eu jamais cessasse de escrever meu livro nela […] e a mulher amada, cujo leite eu já sorvera, me fez beber da água com que havia lavado sua blusa.” Chico Buarque de Holanda - Budapeste

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Luso-Brazilian Film Screenings: Literature & Film

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese in collaboration with the University of Toronto Libraries would like to invite you to the Luso-Brazilian Film Screenings: Literature & Cinema that will be held every Monday during the month of March at the Media Commons Theatre (Robarts Library, 3rd floor).

PLACE: Media Commons Theatre (Robarts Library, 3rd Floor)
DATE: Mondays of March 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2014

TIME: 6:30pm to 9:30pm

Screening 1 (Mar 10, 2014): Macunaima (Brazil, 1969) Directed by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade. Based on Mario de Andrade's novel

Screening 2 (Mar 17, 2014): Mutum (Brazil, 2007) Directed by Sandra Kogut. Based on “Campo Geral” by João Guimarães Rosa

Screening 3 (Mar 24, 2014): Sleepwalking Land (Terra Sonâmbula, Portugal/Moçambique, 2007) Directed by Teresa Prata. Based on Mia Couto’s novel

Screening 4 (Mar 31, 2014): Budapest (Brazil, 2009) Directed by Walter Carvalho. Based on Chico Buarque’s novel

All movies are in Portuguese with English subtitles. Each movie will be introduced and contextualized by Luso-Brazilian studies specialists, and a Q&A session will follow each screening.
Admission to this event is free, but please take the time to complete our event registration form:
For further information regarding this event, please contact fabiano.rocha [] utoronto [] ca or hudson.moura [] utoronto [] ca.

Monday, February 10, 2014



OCTOBER 24-25, 2014
University of Toronto

Call for Papers: International conference “Interactive Narratives, New Media and Social Engagement”   
Date: October 24th and 25th, 2014
Place: Victoria College, University of Toronto, Canada
Submission deadline: May 1st, 2014

An interdisciplinary conference for researchers and practitioners.

How has the digital screen changed our world in general and narrative and visual arts in particular is the broad focus of the second Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto and BRAFFTV Film and Media international Conference.

We are interested, for instance, in the evolution of narrative practices from text-based literature to the advent of the digital revolution as storytelling moves from literacy to so-called post-literacy.

The prevalence of new interactive digital narrative in all areas from games, to literature, to films, to video art has resulted in new forms of storytelling and, accordingly, provoked new practices of reading that transforms readers/viewers into active collaborators.

We are interested in exploring transmedia, intermediality, the role of social media and digital globalization as well as narratives in games and graphic novels. Also, the impact of the digital screen on art and new exhibition practices.

Physical public space is increasingly being substituted or augmented by virtual space through digital screens (e.g. video, film, computer). What effect do these new developments have on social space, seen here as encompassing both physical public spaces (streets, hotels, coffee shops) as well as virtual space (YouTube, Vine, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Orkut, etc.)? How do these novel practices effect previously clearly demarcated frontiers between the public and the private?

Throughout the world, from Brazil to Turkey to Canada, we have recently witness the influence of social media on political participation. How have these new platforms engendered innovative forms of expression?

The Conference aims to bring together researchers, practitioners and theorists for a two-day conference at Victoria College at the University of Toronto on October 24-25. The presented papers will be evaluated for possible inclusion in a special issue of a journal on the proceedings.

The following key topics/areas will be emphasized during the conference:

1. Intermediality, Transmedia and Remediation
2. Expanded Cinema and Digital Screen Aesthetics
3. Transnational Cinema and International Co-Productions
4. Digital Animation and Games: Narrative and Interactivity
5. Snack Media, Mobile Screens, Micro Movie, and Microblogging
6. Social Media Engagement and New Technologies
7. Hacktivism and Political Engagement
8. Digital Art and Literature (eBooks, eReaders)

Send an Abstract (between 180 and 300 words in length including the research objectives, theoretical framework and methodology) and Brief Bio-CV (100 words maximum) by May 1st, 2014 to Each proposal must include title, name(s), affiliation, institutional address and email addresses of the author(s).

Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by participants. The organizers will, on request, provide the necessary letters for the purposes of issuing visas to foreign visitors. 

Further information on our previous conference visit the website: