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Manhã Cinzenta (1969)

A couple is arrested and tortured after taking part in a political demonstration, being sentenced to death.


Olney São Paulo


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Credited cast:
Ibere Cavalcanti Ibere Cavalcanti
Janet Chermont Janet Chermont
Sonélio Costa Sonélio Costa
Flávio Moreira da Costa Flávio Moreira da Costa
Neville de Almeida Neville de Almeida
Zena Felix Zena Felix
Nestor Noya Nestor Noya
Maria Helena Saldanha Maria Helena Saldanha


A couple is arrested and tortured after taking part in a political demonstration, being sentenced to death.

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Drama | Short







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Did You Know?


Olney São Paulo was probably the only director arrested and tortured just for making a movie. In 1969, he was in Viña del Mar, Chile, for a festival, when two students kidnapped a plane and headed for Cuba, where they exhibited the film they had taken along with them: "Manhã Cinzenta". The military dictatorship in Brasil arrested the director, and besides losing his bank job, he was forced to deliver all the copies and negatives. For a long time, it was considered a "lost" film. But a copy of it was kept in secret under a different name in Rio's Museum of Modern Art. See more »


References The Night of the Generals (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

Historical and symbolical piece but not controversial as it should have been
29 March 2015 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

"Manhã Cinzenta" ("Grey Morning") is a minor yet important register from the Anos de Chumbo (Lead Years) of the military regime that took place in Brazil between the 1960's and 1980's. The curious about this film is that it was released right after the AI-5, the Instituional Act that censored all forms of material against the government, took liberties from left and the right and was quite a mayhem in terms of what the nation leaders could do to any person. Even with all that, this short film was made, not sure if actually released to major audiences, some Latin American nations had exhibitions of it, the word got out and its director Olney São Paulo was arrested, tortured and was forced to deliver all the negatives he had of this film. Many thought it was a lost film but just the opposite, it's easily available (only this year that I actually heard about this preciosity) despite the poor audio and image quality. It remains as the most realistic criticism to the regime from the period, competing with the masterpiece "Terra Em Transe", released two years earlier.

Part fiction, part documentary, part real and part fraud, "Manhã Cinzenta" tells us about a young couple arrested by the police after taking part in political protests. The story is presented in strange flashbacks that gives some insight into the rebellion this couple and their group of friends have with the current political system, inter-cut with their arrest and torture, and real archive footage coming from the real protests that took place in 1968 and/or earlier. The latter is what makes this film quite explosive, politically charged and a great manifest in favor of liberty, the right to protest for civil and moral rights.

Too bad Mr. São Paulo didn't stick to the truth, he had to make a disjointed fiction that sounds and looks pretentious, confusing, borrowing elements from the cinema of Godard. Note that at no point Brazil is mentioned as the place where the story takes place (a fictional name was given, if I'm not wrong); the characters live in a fictional nation under the command of a robot surrounded by an army. Part of its purpose in making a statement and create a controversy is almost lost because of those fictional conveniences. This movie could be THE real thing from the period, the only daring piece of cinematic art to challenge the dictatorship. It's just a scratch - enough to cause harm to the director but not enough to be remembered (then and now) as the greatest slap in the face the regime ever took. I know this was done in order to avoid conflict but since they knew they would get it, why not bothering with throwing punches and name names, expose the whole and absolute truth? Remains historical, yes, but it's so dull and reserved that its effect now is hardly effective.

Doesn't go without positive aspects: its brilliancy comes with the prison sequences followed by John Philip Sousa's military themes, a hint to the real financiers of the regime and the real images from the students protests. Fine movie. 8/10

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