Documentary ‘Black and White’ shows race relations in Brazil

July 2004 -

On 20 June 2004 the world premiere of Preto e Blanco / Black and White, a documentary by the Brazilian multimedia/video artist Carlos Nader (Sao Paolo 1964), was presented at the World Wide Video Festival. 'This time I wanted to make a film with social importance, where the issue is more important than I am', declares the artist.

Carlos Nader has created a number of films. The award-winning Portrait of a Serial Kisser (1993) is a film about a man that kisses based on political conviction. In the video Carlos Nader (1998), described as 'a non-autobiography: a video about its creator, a video about nothing', he attempts to find individuality based on colour, nationality and political preference.

In his newest film, Black and White, Nader goes a step further. In an almost sociological study of race relations he uses interviews to introduce us to eight main characters who have an extraordinary relation to their 'race'. 'Racism itself is not expressed overtly in Brazil, which makes it difficult to fight', according to Nader. The film is intentionally shot almost completely in black and white, so that the viewer is not sure what colour the speaker is. In Brazil almost no one is entirely black or entirely white; people carry the traces of their coloured parents and ancestors. Nader explains that in Brazil one does not speak of black or white, because it is much more frequently a social issue that has to do with origin. Black and White offers salient examples and statements showing that even in the most mixed race country in the world, there is no equality based on race or colour.

Nader, who was able to make the film thanks to the Prince Claus Fund, has been a regular guest at the WWVF since 1993. He believes that it is unfortunate that the Dutch Council of Culture has advised eliminating the subsidy for the WWVF, because he owes his worldwide recognition to this festival.