Sleeping Giant (03:17)
Brazilians describe their country as having endless potential and limitless resources. This film will explore its national history through two families. One is of former landowners and the other of former slaves and servants.
Coffee and Milk Republic (03:38)
Brazil's empire depended on slavery. Kao is descended from coffee barons and abolitionists. In 1888, slavery was abolished but the new democracy was designed to keep coffee and dairy oligarchs in power. Dona Lodez used to work for the big house; she remembers the president coming to visit.
Brazil's "Revolution" (01:56)
Washington Luis faced opposition in 1926. Joan Luis' grandfather, General Coutinho, commanded an army against rebels who prevailed in 1930. Getúlio Vargas installed progressive labor and education laws, but also established a dictatorship.
Domestic Servitude (03:42)
Dona Lodez's mother died and worked for her father’s employers in exchange for food and clothing. During World War II, Brazil joined the Allies. In 1945, elections were held and Dutra replaced Vargas. Despite democracy, poverty and education gaps persisted. Joan Luis recalls the 1950 World Cup loss to Uruguay.
Vargas' Martyrdom (04:13)
Joan Luis describes his experience in the military academy. In 1951, Vargas was elected to his second presidential term; Dona Lodez recalls his populist speeches. After being accused of assassinating an opponent, Vargas committed suicide— democracy remained under military control.
Rural Inequality (01:57)
Dona Lodez's daughter-in-law Ludinia grew up in the country in the 1950s with her sisters Angela and Venina. Latifundios remained from the colonial period, next to peasants. Despite poverty, the sisters recall a happy childhood.
Rapid Development (02:33)
In 1956, President Kubitschek focused on building infrastructure to modernize Brazil; his national plan included creating Brasilia in the west as Brazil's new capital. Joan Luis became an engineer, rather than going into the army. Rural citizens moved to cities for work, including Ludinia's father, who became a taxi driver.
Favela Life (02:21)
Ludinia's family was among rural migrants to Rio de Janeiro. Her father wanted to live in a respectable neighborhood but they settled in Sao Gonzalo, a poor suburb.
Coup d'État (03:37)
In 1961, President João Goulart drew scrutiny for left leaning policies, including agrarian reform. Wealthy Brazilians feared communism as movements became more radicalized. In 1964, the military took over and established a regime.
Ludina, Angela, and Venina's parents could not afford school fees. Kao was a philosophy professor and needed childcare. Angela became her nanny in 1968; they had a good relationship. Demonstrations against the regime were repressed; General Medici took control in 1969 and dissolved congress.
Economic Miracle (03:05)
Brazil's military regime built infrastructure, developed industry, and modernized society. Joan Luis started a construction business and built apartment buildings for the emerging middle class. Brazil won the World Cup in 1970; General Medici used the victory as propaganda to hide oppression.
Purges and Political Persecution (02:38)
Brazil's regime tracked and arrested anyone suspected of left-leaning ideas. Kao describes a climate of distrust as she taught philosophy at Rio de Janeiro University. Gilberto Gil and Chico Buarque wrote "Calice" as a subversive protest against the state.
From Nanny to Professional (03:30)
In 1974, the dictatorship began losing support; Ernesto Geisel began relaxing the regime. Angela enjoyed working for Kao but wanted to finish school. She, Ludinia and Venina studied hard and pursued careers.
Demonstrating for Democracy (01:50)
Brazilians demanded direct elections and amnesty for political prisoners. In 1982, the regime refused universal suffrage; political elites chose the next president.
War on Inflation (03:25)
Angela, Ludinia, and Venina became social workers and nurses, but had to work double shifts to survive. Despite President Sarney's efforts, inflation grew 1000% in 1988. Fernando Collor won the election in 1989 but his anti-inflation measures also failed. Citizens called for his resignation in street protests and the government complied.
Slavery Remnants (03:00)
In the 1990s, Dona Lodez still worked for Kao's family, without a contract or a salary. Ludinia did not want her daughter to see her grandmother in a servile position, and convinced Dona Lodez to leave for good. They bought her house from her former employers.
Ongoing Inequality (01:56)
Fernando Henrique Cardoso reduced inflation and was elected president. He privatized industry to modernize the economy and introduced social welfare programs, but poverty remained. Gangs battled to control favelas and rural demonstrations for agrarian reform were violently repressed.
Working Class Empowerment (04:10)
Union hero Lula campaigned on a social justice platform in 2002. Venina and Angela worked at a polling station on election day; they describe his landslide victory. During his term, Brazil joined emerging economic nations, paid off its IMF debt, and sent soldiers on U.N. peacekeeping missions.
Emerging Middle Class (03:07)
The Lula years transformed Brazil, but inequality still impedes progress. Angela, Ludinia, and Venina have professional careers and are able to afford small luxuries. They feel socially and politically empowered.
Credits: Brazil: A Giant On The Move (00:57)
Credits: Brazil: A Giant On The Move
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