The director, journalist, and columnist Arnaldo Jabor died in the early hours of this Tuesday (15), at the age of 81. Part of Cinema Novo and author of productions such as Eu Te Amo and Toda Nudez Will Be Castigada, Jabor had been hospitalized in São Paulo since mid-December, when he suffered a stroke.
Although a medical report at the end of the year indicated an improvement in his health, the filmmaker’s family confirmed to Folha de S.Paulo that he died due to complications from this stroke.
Since the 1990s, Jabor’s name has been closely associated with his controversial and provocative comments on TV Globo’s newscasts, but the beginning of his career was in the cinema. First, as a critic in the newspaper of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ) and in the magazine Movimento. But, thanks to his friend and filmmaker Cacá Diegues, he started to act as a director from the 1960s onwards, releasing the short films Rio Capital Mundial do Cinema and O Circo and entering the Brazilian cultural scene in the second phase of Cinema Novo.
Throughout his career, his interest in investigating the contradictions of the middle class is remarkable. This appears for the first time in A Opinião Pública, in 1967, his debut in the direction of a feature film, but also in O Casamento, in 1975 and in many of his chronicles.
But he also addressed love and existential crises in his works, such as the adaptation of the text by Nelson Rodrigues Toda Nudez Will Be Castigada, from 1973. The film won him a Silver Bear at the Berlin Festival, in addition to the first prize at the Gramado Festival.
These weren’t Jabor’s only stints on the awards circuit. He twice competed for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Festival with the films Pindorama, from 1970, and Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar, from 1986. While the latter won Fernanda Torres the award for Best Actress at the French festival, O Casamento gave Camila Amado the Golden Kikito for Best Supporting Actress, in Gramado.
His last film was A Suprema Felicidade, released in 2010, more than 20 years after the hiatus marked by the premiere of Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar.
The production portrayed Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s, which Jabor himself defined as “a kind of Brazilian Amarcord”, referencing the classic by Italian Federico Fellini.
According to the newspaper O Globo, however, Jabor leaves an unpublished film, based on the short story by Rubem Fonseca The Book of Panegyrics and which features Michel Melamed, João Miguel, and Bella Piero in the cast. Titled My Last Wish, the ninth film of his career was scheduled for last year, but was postponed and still doesn’t have a release date.