The Mighty Spirit
Guest curator Natalia Brizuela, who teaches in UC Berkeley’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese, edited a special issue of Film Quarterly dedicated to Coutinho’s films.
In a favela in Rio de Janeiro, against the backdrop of the Pope’s 1997 visit, Coutinho investigates faith in Brazil. He finds a unique mix of Catholicism mingled with Umbanda beliefs and Evangelical traditions, in which Christ, the Pope, and Catholic saints as well as ancestral spirits are part of an open, syncretic spirituality. “Probably Coutinho’s most perfect film, in a thematic sense” (Victor Bruno, Lola Journal), it marks a shift in Coutinho’s style and method as he more fully developed his “conversational cinema,” focusing on a series of individuals telling their stories around a single theme.