Curumin: Bíos and Thanatos in Brazilian contemporary movies
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Biopics have found a promising market in Brazil. In the last twenty years, approximately fifty long feature movies were biographies of singers, actors, politicians, athletes, and musicians. The majority of the productions is canonic regarding narrative choices and depiction of their biography subject. One example seems to escape the formula and has stirred the attention and opinion of viewers, critics, and society. Curumim (Prado, 2016), a documentary by Marcos Prado, is a hybrid of auto/thanatography, testimonio, and biography of Marcos Archer, a middle- class Brazilian drug dealer arrested in Thailand and sent to prison in Indonesia for eleven years. During his time in jail, several attempts were made by the Brazilian government to avoid the death penalty; a sentence usually applied to cases of drug trafficking in Indonesia. In January of 2015, Archer was finally was executed. The movie is a joined effort of the filmmaker and the drug dealer. With a hidden cell phone and memory cards sent to him unbeknownst by the guards, the narrative created by Archer, aka Curumin, defies strict categories of a genre in the autobiographic realm. While exposing the life behind bars, Archer examines himself and his life and believes he will be pardon. A movie diary? An auto/thanatography, in the sense that Susanna Egan understands it as a narrative that “focus[es] on illness, pain, and imminent death as crucial to the process of that life” (Egan, 1999, p.224)? Or a cautionary tale despite the unexpected outcome? This paper will reflect on the biographic temptation in Brazilian movie industry and the particulars of Curumin, as a paradox of this trend.