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Media, Cinema and Modernization in Brazil: The Case of Carmen Miranda and Mazzaropi


Since the end of the nineteenth century, Brazil has debated the display of its established identities, which comprise the country’s “national types” (e.g., back lander, cordial man, forester, and gaucho). Between 1940 and 1950, new types were added to the list (which was already replete with sometimes antagonistic figures), contesting the existing discursive forms, representations, and ideals of an “imagined community.” This paper compares two antagonistic characters- Carmen Miranda and Amácio Mazzaropi-who emerged in the context of Brazilian modernization at a time when light entertainment was giving way to more complex explorations of Brazilian society. Their personas and national types delineate the rough transition from traditional to urban society through mass media and reveal drastic cultural ruptures and irreconcilable national ideals.

Silvana Seabra Hooper

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