Words, Images, Gestures: A Dialogue between João Silvério Trevisan’s Documentary Contestação (1969) and Walter Benjamin’s Theses On the Concept of History

Gustavo Tanus, Antonia Cristina de Alencar Pires, Filipe Schettini


Cinema builds a diversity of important narratives to discuss culture and language. Many of them deal with authoritarian states and their antithesis, rebellion, resistance. This study analyzes the film narrative Contestação (1969), by João Silvério Trevisan, an experimental documentary on the protagonism of students against the authoritarianism and violence of dictatorships, from which we will analyze the narrative itself, as well as its composition made from the reuse of media material, film archives and journalism, and music as an element of the filmic montage; it analyzes this intermedia process between word and image. This analysis will be based on Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Concept of History, in order to observe how the film formulates temporalities, the perception of events, and the construction of history. For the analysis of the composition of the film, concepts from theorists such as Eisenstein, Bakhtin, Kristeva, and Intermediality theorists, among others, were used.


Article received: December 13, 2019; Article accepted: January 31, 2020; Published online: April 15, 2020; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Tanus, Gustavo, Antonia Cristina de Alencar Pires, and Filipe Schettini. "

Words, Images, Gestures: A Dialogue Between João Silvério Trevisan’s Documentary Contestação (1969) and Walter Benjamin’s Theses On the Concept of History." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 21 (2020): 121-132. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i21.363 


political cinema; history; authoritarian regimes; Benjaminian theses

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i21.363


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