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Wanna see How to Stage a Scene in Educational Research? Listen Up!

ABSTRACT

1 1 Esta peça esteve em cartaz no SESC Consolação (São Paulo/SP/Brasil) nos dias 27 e 28 de agosto de 2022. In this essay, I explored connections between Eduardo Coutinho’s documentary feature film ‘Playing’ (Jogo de Cena) and a type of academic-scientific research carried out in the Brazilian educational field. Faced with the paradoxical game where in order to see one needs to listen and in order to listen one needs to see, I outlined the following working argument: by oscillating between memory and documents, the documentarist’s procedural gesture includes archives and frictionizes the ways of carrying out a type of research in education, especially the research based on archival material, presenting possible assemblies of the enunciative perimeters of contemporary educational research.

Keywords:
Documentary Film; Educational Research; Eduardo Coutinho

RESUMO

Neste ensaio, busquei explorar pontos de contato entre o documentário Jogo de Cena, de Eduardo Coutinho, e um tipo de pesquisa acadêmico-científica feita no campo educacional brasileiro. Mediante o jogo paradoxal de que, para ver, é preciso escutar e, para escutar, é preciso ver, delineei o seguinte argumento de trabalho: ao oscilar entre a memória e os documentos, o gesto procedimental do documentarista comporta arquivos e fricciona o modo de fazer de um tipo de pesquisa em educação, sobretudo aquele alicerçado em materiais de arquivo, apresentando possíveis montagens dos perímetros enunciativos da pesquisa educacional contemporânea.

Palavras-chave:
Cinema Documental; Pesquisa Educacional; Eduardo Coutinho

RÉSUMÉ

Dans cet essai, j’ai cherché à explorer les points de contact parmi le film documentaire ‘Jogo de Cena’ d’Eduardo Coutinho et un type de recherche académique-scientifique menée dans le domaine de l’éducation au Brésil. À travers le jeu paradoxal selon lequel pour voir, il faut écouter, et pour écouter, il faut voir, j’ai exposé l’argument de travail suivant : en oscillant entre la mémoire et les documents, le geste procédural du documentariste englobe des archives et se frotte à un type de recherche en éducation, en particulier celles ancrées dans des matériaux d’archives, présentant des montages possibles des périmètres énonciatifs de la recherche éducative contemporaine.

Mots-clés:
Cinéma Documentaire; Recherche Educative; Eduardo Coutinho

Preamble

The title of this text is a montage inspired by a similar gesture by author and theater director Gerald Thomas as he conceived the play F.E.T.O. (Studies of Doroteia Nude Descending the Staircase), which was the result of an investigative process based on the play Doroteia (1949), by Nelson Rodrigues, and other references, such as the paintings Nude Descending a Staircase (1912), by Marcel Duchamp, and Vento e na Terra I (1991), by Brazilian painter Iberê Camargo. Naming the piece F.E.T.O. (Portuguese spelling for foetus) was also a political gesture for Thomas, as on June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court repealed the right to abortion, which had been in force in the country since 1973 (Thomas, 2022THOMAS, Gerald. F.E.T.O. (Estudos de Doroteia Nua Descendo a Escada). São Paulo: SESC, 2022.).

Unlike Thomas, I only used two pieces for reference, one literary and the other cinematographic, and, like him, I made a political argument. Finally, I also made use of a device.

The first piece refers to the book Elefante, by poet and diplomat Francisco Alvim (2000), and the second to the film Playing (Jogo de Cena - 2007), the tenth documentary by filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho. One poem from the book interested me: Wanna see? Listen up (Quer ver? Escuta, Alvim, 2000, p. 76). In it, in addition to the unidentified subject, a paradox is presented: in order to see, you have to listen. What does it mean? It seems that seeing would constitute a thick layer to be excavated, more through a gesture of listening to its accumulations and vacuoles and less by means of an attempt to freeze its scenes for later analysis; taken as a gesture of composition that would reach beyond the simple contact of our retinas with the lights of the world, but which, beyond that, would require establishing relationships between things, perceiving them and listening to them.

In Playing, Coutinho once again places us before people telling their life stories, a hallmark of his documentaries, especially since Santo Forte (The Mighty Spirit - 1999). But this time he selected only female interviewees, because they speak “more easily about their pains and joys [...] and also because, for him, women are that which he is not, the ‘Other’ he seeks in his films” (Lins; Mesquita, 2008LINS, Consuelo; MESQUITA, Cláudia. Filmar o Real: sobre o documentário brasileiro contemporâneo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2008. E-book Kindle., position 60). In addition to seeking for female characters, Coutinho’s Other, he invited a few well-known actresses to appear in the film, a first regarding his oeuvre. Of the five actresses invited, three agreed to take part: Andréa Beltrão, Fernanda Torres and Marília Pêra (Lins; Mesquita, 2008LINS, Consuelo; MESQUITA, Cláudia. Filmar o Real: sobre o documentário brasileiro contemporâneo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2008. E-book Kindle.). Hence Coutinho himself considers the film to be “a documentary - impure, since it incorporates actresses - that features as a theme what is said about the characters in a documentary”2 2 Disponível em: https://www.matizar.com.br/producoes/jogo-de-cena/. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023. (Lins; Mesquita, 2008LINS, Consuelo; MESQUITA, Cláudia. Filmar o Real: sobre o documentário brasileiro contemporâneo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2008. E-book Kindle., position 60).

It’s important to say that the production process for Playing began with the publication of an advertisement in the classifieds section of a Rio de Janeiro newspaper, bearing the following message: “If you are a woman over 18, lives in Rio de Janeiro, has stories to tell and wants to take part in a test for a documentary film, contact us. Lines open from April 17 (2005), from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at [...]”3 3 Informação disponível já no primeiro plano do filme ao mostrar em close o anúncio, evidenciando “para o espectador, o dispositivo utilizado para a seleção das personagens” (Ramos, 2012, p. 46). . Eduardo Coutinho’s assistant director and camerawoman, Cristiana Grumbach, who directed the research, recorded 83 women in the Glauber Rocha Theater. After that:

Coutinho enlisted the help of Ernesto Piccolo, who works at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation with people with no previous acting experience. Piccolo made a selection of thirty actresses and Coutinho chose the film’s participants from among them, based on videos of their performances. Once they had decided on their roles, they were directed in rehearsals by Piccolo and then filmed at the Glauber Rocha Theater. Coutinho didn't take part in the rehearsals, sticking to his premise of first meeting the actresses at the moment of filming. However, the director confesses that two takes were recorded4 4 Chamado também de tomada (em inglês, take), isto é, “tudo aquilo que é registrado pela câmera desde o momento em que ela é ligada (REC) até o momento em que ela é desligada (PAUSE ou STOP)”. Disponível em: https://www.primeirofilme.com.br/site/olivro/nocoes-basicas-da-estrutura-de-umfilme/#:~:text=Chamamos%20de%20TOMADA%20. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023. .

That’s when the editing, which took place over several steps, came into play: “[...] the first cut was three hours long; according to Coutinho it was a ‘vale of tears’. Only then was the final format reached. In this documentary, editing was essential to the construction of the film’s proposal” (Mager, 2020MAGER, Juliana Muylaert. Jogo de Cena: história, memória e testemunho no documentário de Eduardo Coutinho. São Paulo: Alameda, 2020., p. 218-219), which scrutinises “distinctions between what is staged and what is real” (Lins; Mesquita, 2008LINS, Consuelo; MESQUITA, Cláudia. Filmar o Real: sobre o documentário brasileiro contemporâneo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2008. E-book Kindle., position 60). This leads the audience to lose control over what is fictional and what is not, while at the same time making us participate more and more in the game proposed by the filmmaker.

We are twice emotionally moved by the same case, no longer wanting to know which of the women is the ‘true’ owner of the story. Not least because there’s no guarantee: they could both be ‘fakes’, actresses playing the part of a third person who isn’t in the movie (Lins; Mesquita, 2008LINS, Consuelo; MESQUITA, Cláudia. Filmar o Real: sobre o documentário brasileiro contemporâneo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2008. E-book Kindle., position 62).

It’s as if Alvim’s (2000) axiom worked the other way around for Coutinho: wanna hear it? Watch this. “Face to face with his character, Coutinho builds a story for two (both the voice and the ear, which are commanding the narrative in equal parts), whose outcome is unknowable beforehand” (Salles, 2004SALLES, João Moreira. Prefácio. In: LINS, Consuelo. O Documentário de Eduardo Coutinho: televisão, cinema e vídeo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2004., position 6). From the stories we hear, the imagination is constantly at work. The narratives populate our thoughts, producing a kind of figurative stock based on the strength of how the word is said or not said, resulting in silent intervals which, for Coutinho, are as interesting as what has just been said. By shuffling the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction in an original and radical way, Coutinho is not trying to say that he prefers lies to the truth of facts, but rather that he favours the expressiveness of memory’s work, when one says what one says, from the temporal distance of a lived fact. Furthermore, with each story told, there is an explosion of singularities, which escape “reasoning about general categories” (Salles, 2004SALLES, João Moreira. Prefácio. In: LINS, Consuelo. O Documentário de Eduardo Coutinho: televisão, cinema e vídeo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2004., position 7); Coutinho’s focus lies “only on individuals” (Salles, 2004SALLES, João Moreira. Prefácio. In: LINS, Consuelo. O Documentário de Eduardo Coutinho: televisão, cinema e vídeo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2004., position 7), so that “in Coutinho’s cinema no one is condemned to anything in advance” (Salles, 2004SALLES, João Moreira. Prefácio. In: LINS, Consuelo. O Documentário de Eduardo Coutinho: televisão, cinema e vídeo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2004., position 7).

Now to the political argument. In contemporary times, education has crossed countless disciplinary boundaries, breaking down the precise limits that existed until the early 1960s/1970s, when culture, combined with education, became central to understanding the social fabric, which began to be frayed under the stress of countless languages and cultural artifacts, giving rise to the learning society, a name created by Colombian psychologist and pedagogue Carlos Ernesto Noguera-Ramírez (2011)NOGUERA-RAMÍREZ, Carlos Ernesto. Pedagogia e Governamentalidade ou da Modernidade como uma Sociedade Educativa. Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2011..

In the learning society, the discursive environment in which we are still situated, learning how to learn matters more than the act of teaching. Thus, the dyad of culture and education has acted as a catalyst for gears that are increasingly driven by educational demands, understanding education in its broadest sense. In other words, the gesture of educating will no longer be controlled by formal and official educational institutions, but will be ostensibly dispersed in a profusion of networks, from public and private education systems to higher education and the digital humanities, with their telematic networks and planetary connectivity.

This will also have an effect on the way in which educational research will be carried out as a result of the tacit establishment of a learning society. In other words, the academic-scientific research currently being carried out in the field of education is not restricted to the geographical perimeter of basic and higher education institutions; it has been expanded to understand how cultural artifacts also govern our behavior and ways of life. If there is currently a growing demand to understand how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact the educational field, perhaps this is just one of the countless effects of the power of language, radically cleaved by editing’s gestual grammar, similar to that employed by audiovisual activities, particularly cinema.

Editting may seem like a complex gesture, but it cuts across many activities in our daily lives, being carried out by agents as diverse as cooks, watchmakers, seamstresses, teachers and fortune tellers, who, by articulating a reading of our lives by means of different cards, assemble gestures. “Montage or editing consists of choice and juxtaposition. That’s it. It’s a simple operation, common to all languages. It’s no different in cinema. Those who express themselves through cinematographic language select and combine images and sounds” (Escorel, 2005ESCOREL, Eduardo. (Des)importância da Montagem. São Paulo: Heco Produções, 2005. Disponível em: http://www.portalbrasileirodecinema.com.br/montagem/ensaios/04_02.php. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
http://www.portalbrasileirodecinema.com....
, p. 1). In the same way, we, researchers in the field of education, though not only dealing with images and sounds, are also constantly immersed in montage gestures, even though the core of our editing work does not result in films (fiction and/or documentaries), but in texts, tributaries of research carried out in research institutes and universities, the working environment of most teacher-researchers, especially in Brazil.

Finally, the device. Coutinho used to say that when he started any preproduction process for a documentary, he was outlining his own geography, creating boundaries and inventing his prison. “The prison I build is this: I’m only going to film in one place, I’m going to talk to people, I’m not going to do visual coverage... You build the limits in which you want to work” (Coutinho, 2000COUTINHO, Eduardo. Entrevista a José Carlos Avellar. Cinemais: Revista de Cinema e Outras Questões Audiovisuais, n. 22, mar./abr. 2000.). Following in Coutinho’s footsteps, I also created what I prefer to call an enunciative perimeter, that is, a narrative territorial surface put into operation by dismantling the title of this essay.

The aim is to explore how a certain way of making documentary cinema, when frictionized5 5 Vale considerar que, atualmente, sobretudo com o advento do audiovisual, temos encontrado outros meios para divulgar as pesquisas e os estudos que realizamos nas universidades. against a certain type of educational research, can point to procedural gestures by means of the composition of a territory that encompasses criteria, bets, thematic research, empirical research and theoretical research, carried out by the hand of the filmmaker or of the education researcher. The hand that forges the spelling is not naked; on the contrary, it is dressed up in a previously outlined, carefully woven framework, exhausting all the possibilities of easy narratives found before going to the film or writing set.

The preliminary process of this type of movement I’m describing here is necessarily intense. It consists of a careful dive into the sea of possibilities and materials that can be found and scoured beforehand. You only have to notice how Coutinho’s conversations resemble impromptu dialogues. But, far from it, these are grounded on an extensive and intensive surface of references and studies, carefully irrigated in a previous stage in his work schedule. So, when he goes to the set, the researcher-filmmaker is ready to write, whether by means of audiovisuals, text and/or other languages. In any case, the result of this enunciative perimeter is made up of the weaving of relationships between materials, culminating in graphics that can be perpetuated for as long as their supports survive.

Based on this preamble, the aim here is to think about how Alvim’s and Coutinho’s gestures could articulate with the Humanities researcher’s own gesture, especially in the field of academic research in education. Aren’t Elefante, Playing and the academic-scientific texts (journal articles, monographs, dissertations and theses) the results of long montage processes? The results of the choice of lenses that would best capture and compose certain scenes, also including certain research processes? Results of the experience of defining framings and, above all, the work of discarding, selecting and reversing hours and hours of raw material or hours and hours of study and empirical research?6 6 Utilizo esse termo na acepção dada por Vera Casa Nova (2008, p. 111), qual seja, friccionar diz respeito ao “atrito de corpos, produzindo contatos vitais, corpos de enunciação dos textos”; e por Anna Tsing (2012, p. 2-3) ao considerar a fricção como “o engajamento e o encontro através dos quais trajetórias globais tomam forma. Indo além de estereótipos do ‘global’ como tudo aquilo que é novo, potente e moderno, a fricção chama nossa atenção para a heterogeneidade imprevisível de mundos emergentes”. The ethical obligation, whether in relation to documentary films or to certain research activities, keeping in mind that the person filmed or the person interviewed has a life independent of the film or of the research?

Trying to outline or, rather, to circumvent a possible answer to the question, I created a paradoxical enunciative perimeter: Wanna see? Listen up. Wanna listen? Watch this. I have therefore divided this essay into four parts, trying to trace, in each of them, the geographical singularity of each gesture in its extensiveness.

Wanna see? Listen up. Wanna listen? Watch this (Part 1)

So what is it about seeing and listening to the gesture of the materials and sources of our research and studies in an academic context?

The idea of gesture concerns not only the gestures of human and nonhuman bodies, but also what is left of these very gestures in the material culture of a given society (Agamben, 2018AGAMBEN, Giorgio. Por uma Ontologia e uma Política do Gesto. Caderno de Leituras, Belo Horizonte, Chão da Feira, n. 76, 2018. Disponível em: https://chaodafeira.com/catalogo/caderno76/. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
https://chaodafeira.com/catalogo/caderno...
), even if through the presence of absences, such as the attempts to “make the archives disappear, the memory of the disappearance” of the Shoah (Didi-Huberman, 2020DIDI-HUBERMAN, Georges. Imagens Apesar de Tudo. Tradução: Vanessa Brito e João Pedro Cachopo. São Paulo: Editora 34, 2020., p. 38), for instance. The gesture can therefore be understood as a triptych. On the one hand, there is the way in which people record, write or inscribe their daily lives into a given space-time as a result of the type of device, support and archiving policy. On the other hand, there is the type of political regime that will have its effects on the gestures imprinted on the material culture of a given era, pari passu coupled to human corporealities. Finally, there is the uninterrupted movement of continents, rocks, animals and plants, which also mark the geographies of places with their gestures7 7 Aqui fiz um trocadilho, partindo de uma citação do cineasta documentarista João Moreira Salles (2005, p. 59), em destaque, que diz: “[...] deixarei de lado as definições mais canônicas de documentário, que talvez sejam também as mais ingênuas, com sua ênfase na objetividade, no acesso não contaminado à realidade, no filme como um espelho voltado parta o mundo. É importante ressaltar que essas concepções poucas vezes foram defendidas pelos próprios diretores de documentário. São antes o resultado do senso comum, de certos meios jornalísticos e também da crítica desinformada, distante do longo processo de montagem, da experiência de escolher lentes, de definir enquadramentos e principalmente do trabalho de descartar, selecionar e inverter horas e horas de material” (grifo nosso). (Massey, 2008MASSEY, Doreen. Pelo Espaço: uma nova política da espacialidade. Tradução: Hilda Pareto Maciel e Rogério Haesbaert. Rio de Janeiro: Bertrand Brasil, 2008.).

But what is gesture anyway? Nothing more and nothing less than “making a medium visible as such, in its emancipation from all purpose” (Agamben, 2018AGAMBEN, Giorgio. Por uma Ontologia e uma Política do Gesto. Caderno de Leituras, Belo Horizonte, Chão da Feira, n. 76, 2018. Disponível em: https://chaodafeira.com/catalogo/caderno76/. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
https://chaodafeira.com/catalogo/caderno...
, p. 2). In other words, gesture operates as a sounding board for how we create and deal with language in its textual and visual folds. This notion of gesture, if shifted to the field of educational research, is also important in Coutinho’s documentary cinema. “When you start a piece of research or a study, whether it’s academic or not, you always enter in the middle, through landings and overflights. The former should not be understood as a halt to movement, but as a halt in the movement. Overflights and landings give thought a rhythm” (Kastrup, 2015KASTRUP, Virgínia. O Funcionamento da Atenção no Trabalho do Cartógrafo. In: PASSOS, Eduardo; KASTRUP, Virgínia; ESCÓSSIA, Liliana da (Org.). Pistas do Método da Cartografia: pesquisa-intervenção e produção de subjetividade. Porto Alegre: Sulina, 2015. P. 32-51., p. 34-35). Oscillating between flights, overflights, landings and rests: this is the filmmaker’s and the educational researcher’s movement.

Both Coutinho and the researcher elaborate, in their own way, uninterrupted movements of thought, including “[...] it is often said that Eduardo Coutinho’s cinema is a spoken cinema. In fact, it is, but this is a consequence. First and foremost, what he makes is a thought cinema. It’s about thinking, not just about how to film, but mainly about why to film” (Salles, 2004SALLES, João Moreira. Prefácio. In: LINS, Consuelo. O Documentário de Eduardo Coutinho: televisão, cinema e vídeo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2004., position 5). It is therefore possible to say that the interviews conducted by Coutinho are archival. This is one of the clues highlighted by the filmmaker’s filmmaking gesture, which can be transferred to one of the ways of doing research in the educational field.

Wanna see? Listen up. Wanna listen? Watch this (Part 2)

In the text entitled “An idea of archive: contributions to educational research”, Júlio Groppa Aquino and Gisela Maria do Val (2018), aware that our speeches, interviews, etc. are carriers of archive, state that there is a problem of an epistemological and methodological nature regarding the research typologies carried out in the Brazilian educational field, especially those classified as Foucauldian, as they warn about the need to bring up dialogues, particularly with regard to the procedural gesture. “In this context, the potential of the idea of archiving and, more specifically, archiving/archivization as an investigative procedure for educational research emerges - beyond that of the Foucauldian matrix” (Aquino; Val, 2018AQUINO, Júlio Groppa; VAL, Gisela Maria do. Uma Ideia de Arquivo: contributos para a pesquisa educacional. Pedagogía y Saberes, Bogotá, n. 49, p. 41-53, dez. 2018. Disponível em: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S012124942018000200041&lng=pt&tlng=pt . Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?scri...
, p. 44-45). Both authors explore this potential in the light of the audiovisual, more specifically the documentary film genre, using the work by Brazilian documentary filmmaker João Moreira Salles. Salles’ work, for them, is extremely valuable as it:

[...] documentarizes8 8 Como exemplo vale citar o Parque da Rocha Moutonnée, localizado no muni-cípio paulista de Salto, e que foi tombado em 1990 pelo Conselho de Defesa do Patrimônio Histórico, Arqueológico, Artístico e Turístico do Estado de São Paulo (CONDEPHAAT). A rocha que nomeia o parque trata-se de um granito, cuja superfície possui marcas de arranhaduras produzidas por geleiras da era Paleozóica (há 270 milhões de anos), evidenciando, junto de outros vestígios geológicos, que a região passou por alternâncias climáticas significativas. Informação disponível em: https://salto.sp.gov.br/turismo/atrativosturisticos/parque-da-rocha-moutonnee/. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023. , precisely, that which is in check - something fully coincident, in our view, with the problem of archival handling in academic research, since there will invariably be a narrative metabolization of events by analytical intervention or, as they say, by the researcher’s reading. It is the researcher’s hand that will build a bridge between the two previously uneven levels. And this will be his work (Aquino; Val, 2018AQUINO, Júlio Groppa; VAL, Gisela Maria do. Uma Ideia de Arquivo: contributos para a pesquisa educacional. Pedagogía y Saberes, Bogotá, n. 49, p. 41-53, dez. 2018. Disponível em: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S012124942018000200041&lng=pt&tlng=pt . Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?scri...
, p. 45).

Like Aquino and Val (2018)AQUINO, Júlio Groppa; VAL, Gisela Maria do. Uma Ideia de Arquivo: contributos para a pesquisa educacional. Pedagogía y Saberes, Bogotá, n. 49, p. 41-53, dez. 2018. Disponível em: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S012124942018000200041&lng=pt&tlng=pt . Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?scri...
, Coutinho also has a keen interest in these two instances, namely archival handling and the filmmaker’s hand in editing documentaries, so much so that “his films are the fruit of many readings and conversations, of intense research and negotiation; and also of countless risks, hesitations and fears” (Lins, 2004, position 10). Coutinho has a special interest in the surface of discourse, as does Moreira Salles, although, since Santiago and No Intenso Agora, the latter has abandoned interviews, as Coutinho did, in favor of archive images, including those of his family. Despite these differences, both share the same procedural gesture when it comes to the discursive surface.

Wanna see? Listen up. Wanna listen? Watch this (Part 3)

In the paradoxical movement Wanna see? Listen up. Wanna listen? Watch this, the archive doesn’t say I!9 9 Aquino e Val (2018, p. 45) criaram esse neologismo, objetivando “diferenciar a ação convencional de documentar daquela operada pelos documentários fílmicos”, de maneira que “documentarizar consiste em uma recomposição tradutória, e jamais uma transposição automática, de um conjunto de acontecimentos verídicos, isto e, que ocorreram historicamente, mas que são reapropriados inteiramente pela ação do documentarista - como o são, aliás, pelo historiador, por diferentes meios”. What do I mean by that? I’m referring to the common movement undertaken by both the filmmaker’s gesture and the researcher’s gesture. Although a large part of Coutinho’s documentary cinema is based on interviews, a common data production strategy in the field of educational research, but not only in them, Coutinho deploys it again in Playing, not aiming to reach the truth of the person interviewed, but with the aim of displacing the idea of a supposed subject speaking on behalf of all.

The story we tell about our trajectories is not necessarily an expression of our experience or our subjectivity, but rather the reproduction of a narration and an autonomous account as a narrative. When we narrate something, we throw ourselves into a journey that suspends us from chronological time, to the point where we no longer know where we are. At the moment of narration, we are pure flow. That’s the beauty and the tragedy of Playing. We are left wondering whether or not that story was really lived by the person telling it. Sometimes we are surprised to realize, at the end of the narrative, that it was an actress all along, especially when she is not famous.

In the same vein as such shuffles, we see famous actresses lose their composure in front of Coutinho, even after the extensive preparation and experience. For example, we see Marília Pera lose her way in Playing. At that moment, it is neither Marília nor the Self who lives the story, but another gesture ahead of that movement, a suspension linked to that narrative.

This is the most interesting aspect in Playing, as it is frictionized against educational research. Of course, it is the researcher who assembles the research materials. However, if he or she doesn’t suspend their opinionated nature when addressing the set of materials they are working with, they could silence the all-important gesture of listening to the noisy murmur of the very materials. If this happens, the researcher-self will override the untimely flow demanded by that research/thinking movement.

Between Coutinho’s documentary gesture and educational research, there is no Real (with a capital R), sculpted and subtitled beforehand. What there is are realities that can be reconstituted by assembling materials, and not just certain ways of seeing and making people see (visibilities) or certain ways of speaking and making people speak (sayables). Hence the importance of disassembly and reassembly, as they express the discontinuities that saturate our daily lives with anachronisms and survivals, for example, of a redemptive, appeasing and festive education, which has increasingly shattered the world’s archives in the name of a supposed emancipation of the subject, whose behavior has been increasingly governed by contemporary idiots, such as pastors, youtubers, influencers, etc.

Wanna see? Listen up. Wanna listen? Watch this (Part 4)

When talking about the borderline connection between cinema and education, a set of possibilities immediately comes to mind, as evidenced by my construction of eight search strings (Costa; Zoltowski, 2014COSTA, Angelo Brandelli; ZOLTOWSKI, Ana Paula Couto. Como Escrever um Artigo de Revisão Sistemática. In: KOLLER, Silvia H.; COUTO, Maria Clara P. de Paula; HOHENDORFF, Jean Von (Org.). Manual de Produção Científica. Porto Alegre: Penso, 2014. P. 53-67.) and Boolean connectives (Volpato et al., 2013VOLPATO, Gilson Luiz et al. Dicionário Crítico para Redação Científica. Botucatu: Best Writing, 2013.) in SciELO10 10 Em alusão a uma ideia de Gilles Deleuze (2016, p. 194), que diz: “A emoção não diz ‘eu [...] se está fora de si. A emoção não é da ordem do eu, mas do acontecimento. É muito difícil apreender um acontecimento, mas não acredito que essa apreensão implique a primeira pessoa. Antes seria preciso recorrer à terceira pessoa, como Maurice Blanchot, que diz haver mais intensidade na proposição ‘ele sofre’ que em ‘eu sofro’”. (Scientific Electronic Library Online) and their respective results in brackets. Some articles are repeated in the same string but not in others. We only considered articles published in Brazilian journals in the last three decades.

Table 1
Cinema and Education research in SciELO. Source: Prepared by the author (2023).

Three curious elements stand out in Table 1. The first concerns strings 1 and 2, which, as well as resulting in the largest number of articles, are also the broadest. We noticed a certain indistinction in the approach to the terms cinema and audiovisual, which, although related, are different. The second curiosity refers to the way in which cinema has been appropriated by education, rendered evident by strings 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, generating a very wide-ranging and diverse set of approaches, either because of the ambiguity that the term education “carries, sometimes restricted to school approaches, sometimes considered in a broad sense, associated with the means by which societies circulate their knowledge, customs, values, in short, their cultures” (Almeida, 2017, p. 2). In the last string, because it was very restrictive, the SciELO algorithm did not result in any texts published on the interface between documentary cinema and educational research.

What can be concluded from this exercise is how cinema, especially fictional cinema, has been colonized by research in the educational sphere, either to use it as a didactic resource/tool to teach certain contents linked to school subjects11 11 Fundada em 1997, trata-se de uma biblioteca virtual de revistas científicas ele-trônicas com acesso aberto. “O endereço www.scielo.br , acessam-se apenas revistas brasileiras (cerca de 250)” (Volpato et al., 2013, p. 182). , or as a strategy to obtain data for empirical academic research in a basic or higher education institution, or as cultural pedagogy. Perhaps the latter is the result of studies at the interface between cultural studies and education, which began at the end of the 1990s, when culture and the artifacts/materials of a given time-space were central to the research carried out, especially by the Southern Group (Grupo do Sul) (Gomes; Siqueira, 2023GOMES, Aguinaldo Rodrigues; SIQUEIRA, Rogério Monteiro de. Um Cânon para os Estudos Culturais no Brasil: autores, interpretações e apropriações na área de educação. Fênix: Revista de História e Estudos Culturais, v. 20, n. 1, p. 209229, 2023. Disponível em: https://doi.org/10.35355/revistafenix.v20i1.1336. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
https://doi.org/10.35355/revistafenix.v2...
).

Final considerations

The strength of Coutinho’s cinema, as well as of educational research, lies in montage. Through it, it is possible to place shorter stories (of ordinary people) and History with a capital H side by side, not in order to look for the truth or lies of events, but for the expressiveness of gestures. These, when they are intercepted by an event in Playing, shift the shuffle from the interpretative act to the educational act. In other words, what would be the order of representation, in this case the stories narrated and interpreted, take on different meanings in the expressiveness of each actress’s gesture. These meanings put in abeyance any attempt to put oneself in somebodyelse’s shoes.

Just as in documentary cinema, in educational research we have an enunciative perimeter to be traversed by each researcher. When we set out to carry out a study, we also encounter the unpredictability presented by the very movement of and within research, in other words, what lies outside this perimeter.

How can we assemble and reassemble our desk when composing the different flows and speeds of the archive? If, in Coutinho’s documentary cinema, the imponderable (not knowing) is what denies you a ground and, paradoxically, is also what gives you a geography, then what one should do with it in education research? For Coutinho, the point and fun of documentary cinema lies in the untimeliness of the encounter between heterogeneous people. And in educational research, how do we, from our materials, set up a staging game with the heterogeneities of our archives?

The aim of these questions is to stimulate the opening up of other research fronts based on the encounter between documentary filmmaking and educational research. Perhaps the distance that separates and, at the same time, brings the documentary Playing closer to educational research can be measured by the light and shadow that spread across the surface of what we say, un-say and don’t say.

Coutinho’s gesture, which has been displaced in the course this essay in order to think about a way of doing research in education, in the academic-scientific environment, was made, albeit in an essayistic way, with the aim of sketching a fold (similar to the fold of a dress) with the “[...] soft clarity of a black and white photo, regardless of the time it was taken” (The years of Annie Ernaux). A black and white photograph generally presents the interplay between absences and presences of light and shadow. The minimal traces of what has been captured and transformed into an image say a lot about the possibilities of recording and inscribing on the media of an era the gestures of a given culture, as well as the ways in which people are educated and, therefore, the ways in which they are recorded and researched. For this reason, the “soft clarity of a black and white photo” can be a good metaphor for the almost always untimely encounter between educational research and a cinematographic genre such as the documentary.

Availability of research data:

the dataset supporting the results of this study is published in this article.

  • This original paper, translated by Gavin Adams, is also published in Portuguese in this issue of the journal.

Notes

  • 1
    A key expression both for the title and the article itself is the name of a Brazili-an documentary film: Jogo de Cena, which was launched internationally as Playing. This expression does not find a meaningful direct translation into English (scene game?), but it would probably fall somewhere between theatre game, a staged scene or perhaps simply deceit.
  • 2
    Available at: https://www.matizar.com.br/producoes/jogo-de-cena/. Accessed on: 5 jul. 2023.
  • 3
    This piece of information is already available in the film’s first take, when the ad is displayed in close-up, showing “the viewer the device used to select the characters” (Ramos, 2012RAMOS, Fernão Pessoa. A Mise-en-scène do Documentário: Eduardo Coutinho e João Moreira Salles. Rebeca, Socine, ano 1, n. 1, p. 16-53, 2012. Disponível em: https://rebeca.emnuvens.com.br/1/article/view/8/2. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
    https://rebeca.emnuvens.com.br/1/article...
    , p. 46).
  • 4
    A take is "everything that is recorded by the camera from the moment it is turned on (REC) to the moment it is turned off (PAUSE or STOP)”. Available at: https://www.primeirofilme.com.br/site/o-livro/nocoes-basicas-da-estrutura-de-umfilme/#:~:text=Chamamos%20de%20TOMADA%20. Accessed on: July 5, 2023.
  • 5
    I use this term in the sense given by Vera Casa Nova (2008CASA NOVA, Vera. Fricções: traço, olho e letra. Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 2008., p. 111), i.e. fric-cionize refers to the “friction of bodies, producing vital contacts, bodies of enunciation of texts”; and by Anna Tsing (2012TSING, Anna. Frictions. In: RITZER, George (Org.). The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization. Tradução: Letícia Cesarino. New Jersey: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2012. Disponível em: https://blogdolabemus.com/wpcontent/uploads/2018/11/verbete-fricc3a7c3a3o-tsing.pdf. Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
    https://blogdolabemus.com/wpcontent/uplo...
    , p. 2-3) when she considers friction as “the engagement and encounter through which global trajectories take shape. Going beyond stereotypes of the ‘global’ as all that is new, potent and modern, friction draws our attention to the unpredictable heterogeneity of emerging worlds”.
  • 6
    Here I have attempted a pun, based on a quote from documentary filmmaker João Moreira Salles (2005, p. 59), which says: “[...] I will leave aside the most canonical definitions of documentary, which are perhaps also the most naive, with their emphasis on objectivity, on uncontaminated access to reality, on the film as a mirror turned towards the world. It’s important to note that these conceptions have rarely been defended by documentary directors themselves. Rather, they are the result of common sense, of certain journalistic circles and also of uninformed critics, far removed from the long editing process, the experience of choosing lenses, defining framing and, above all, the work of discarding, selecting and reversing hours and hours of material”.
  • 7
    An example is the Moutonnée Rock Park, located in the São Paulo municipali-ty of Salto, which was listed in 1990 by the Council for the Defense of the Historical, Archaeological, Artistic and Tourist Heritage of the State of São Paulo (CONDEPHAAT). The rock that gives the park its name is a granite mass whose surface bears scratches produced by glaciers from the Paleozoic era (270 million years ago), showing, along with other geological remains, that the region has undergone significant climatic changes. Information Available at: https://salto.sp.gov.br/turismo/atrativos-turisticos/parque-da-rochamoutonnee/. Accessed on: July 5, 2023.
  • 8
    Aquino and Val (2018AQUINO, Júlio Groppa; VAL, Gisela Maria do. Uma Ideia de Arquivo: contributos para a pesquisa educacional. Pedagogía y Saberes, Bogotá, n. 49, p. 41-53, dez. 2018. Disponível em: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S012124942018000200041&lng=pt&tlng=pt . Acesso em: 5 jul. 2023.
    http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?scri...
    , p. 45) created this neologism in order to “differentiate the conventional action of documenting from that operated by film documentaries”, so that “documentarizing consists of a translatory recomposition, and never an automatic transposition, of a set of true events, that is, which occurred historically, but which are reappropriated entirely by the action of the documentarist - as they are, by the way, by the historian, by different means”.
  • 9
    Alluding to an idea by Gilles Deleuze (2016DELEUZE, Gilles. Dois Regimes de Loucos: textos e entrevistas (1975-1995). Tradução: Guilherme Ivo. São Paulo: Editora 34, 2016., p. 194), who writes: “Emotion does not say ‘I [...] if it is outside of itself. Emotion is not of the order of the self, but of the event. It’s very difficult to apprehend an event, but I don’t believe that apprehension involves the first person. Rather, it would be necessary to resort to the third person, like Maurice Blanchot, who says that there is more intensity in the proposition ‘he suffers’ than in ‘I suffer’.”
  • 10
    Founded in 1997, it is a virtual library of electronic scientific journals with open access. “The address www.scielo.br, only Brazilian journals can be accessed (around 250)” (Volpato et al., 2013VOLPATO, Gilson Luiz et al. Dicionário Crítico para Redação Científica. Botucatu: Best Writing, 2013., p. 182).
  • 11
    This is due to the approval of Law 13.006/2014, which added §8 to article 26 of Law 9.394, of December 20, 1996, stating that “The exhibition of nationally produced films will be a complementary curricular component integrated into the school’s pedagogical proposal, and its exhibition will be mandatory for at least 2 (two) hours per month” (Brazil, 2014). To find out more, read the book Cinema e Educação: a lei 13006 - reflexões, perspectivas e propostas, organized by Adriana Fresquet (2015), about the consequences of this public policy for basic education in Brazil.

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Editor in charge: Fabiana de Amorim Marcello

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    08 Dec 2023
  • Date of issue
    2024

History

  • Received
    15 July 2023
  • Accepted
    03 Aug 2023
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