“Presents an exquisite analysis of cinematic strategies of Brazilian cinema today, masterfully connecting films to the idea of a constructed hyper-masculinity. The book raises important points about Brazil’s current sociopolitical turn to the extreme right.”—Emanuelle K. F. Oliveira-Monte, author of Writing Identity: The Politics of Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Literature

“An ambitious and theoretically sophisticated study. This veritable tour-de-force promises to be a reference for years to come on Brazilian contemporary film, violence, and masculinities.”—Kathryn Bishop-Sanchez, author of Creating Carmen Miranda: Race, Camp, and Transnational Stardom

“Important and highly original. Through impressive close analyses of cinematic form and techniques in recent mainstream crime films in Brazil, Lehnen demonstrates how cinema can work to actively produce and circulate neo-authoritarian masculinity couched in violence as a dominant discursive social practice.”—Andrew C. Rajca, author of Dissensual Subjects: Memory, Human Rights, and Postdictatorship in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay

An incisive analysis of contemporary crime film in Brazil, this book focuses on how movies in this genre represent masculinity and how their messages connect to twenty-first-century sociopolitical issues. Jeremy Lehnen argues that these films promote an agenda in support of the nation’s recent swing toward authoritarianism that culminated in the 2018 election of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.            

Lehnen examines the integral role of masculinity in several archetypal crime films, most of which foreground urban violence, including Cidade de Deus, Quase Dois Irmãos, Tropa de Elite, O Homem do Ano, and O Doutrinador. Within these films, Lehnen finds representations that criminalize the poor, marginalized male; emasculate the civilian middle-class male intellectual, casting him as unable to respond to crime; and portray state security as the only power able to stem increasing crime rates.

Drawing on insights from masculinity studies, Lehnen contends that Brazilian crime films are ideologically charged mediums that assert and normalize the presence of the neo-authoritarian male within society. Neo-Authoritarian Masculinity in Brazilian Crime Film demonstrates how gendered scripts can become widely accepted by audiences and contribute to very real power structures beyond the sphere of cinema.  

Jeremy Lehnen is visiting associate professor of gender studies and Portuguese and Brazilian studies at Brown University.  

A volume in the series Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America, edited by Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste and Juan Carlos Rodríguez

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