Guerra, Ruy (1931–)

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Guerra, Ruy (1931–)

Ruy Guerra is known as a pioneer in the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Born on August 22, 1931, to Portuguese parents in what was then the Portuguese colony of Mozambique, he pursued his education in Portugal but then changed course to study filmmaking in Paris. He moved to Brazil in 1958 and directed two films that are characteristic of the Cinema Novo period: Os Cafajestes (The Delinquents, 1962), which was banned in Brazil and the United States for its violent content, and Os Fuzis (The guns, 1964), which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival that year and gained him international recognition. The film is a treatise on violence and religious oppression in the rural backlands (sertão) of northeastern Brazil. His Os Deuses E Os Mortos (Gods and the Dead, 1970) was another Cinema Novo landmark.

In the late 1970s he returned to newly independent Mozambique and helped create the country's film institute. In the 1980s his films displayed higher production values and greater commercial appeal. He based two films on works by the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Marquez, Eréndira (1983) and Fábula da Bela Palomera (The Fable of the Beautiful Pigeon Fancier, 1988), both with magical realist elements. ópera do Malandro (The Opera of the Rascal, 1986) is a musical comedy on which he collaborated with the Brazilian composer Chico Buarque, and Estorvo (Turbulence, 2000) is an experimental work based on a novel by Buarque. Guerra has also worked as an actor, songwriter, producer, and director of photography.

See alsoCinema: From the Silent Film to 1990; Cinema: Since 1990; Cinema Novo.


Johnson, Randal. Cinema Novo x 5: Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Film. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984.

Johnson, Randal, and Robert Stam, eds. Brazilian Cinema, expanded edition. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.

Pick, Zuzana M. The New Latin American Cinema: A Continental Project. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993.

Films by Ruy Guerra

Quand le soleil dor. (short) [When the Sun Sleeps]. 1954.

Os Cafajestes. [The Delinquents; also known as The Unscrupulous Ones]. 1962

Os Fuzis. [The Guns]. 1964.

Ternos Caçadores. [Sweet Hunters]. 1969.

Os Deuses E Os Mortos [Gods and the Dead]. (U.S. title: Of Gods and the Undead). 1970.

A Queda. [The Fall]. 1976.

Mueda, Memoria e Massacre [Mueda, Memory and Massacre]. 1980.

Eréndira. 1983.

ópera do Malandro. (U.S. title: Malandro). 1986.

Fábula de la Bella Palomera [The Fable of the Beautiful Pigeon Fancier]. 1988.

Estorvo. (U.S. title: Turbulence). 2000.

Portugal S.A. [Portugal Inc.] 2004.

O Veneno da Madrugada. [Poison at Dawn]. 2004.

                                    Tamara L. Falicov