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The Day That Lasted 21 Years

Dir/scr: Camilo Tavares. Brazil. 2012. 77mins

A fascinating delve into American governmental and CIA plans to disrupt the democratic leaders of Brazil, which eventually would lead lead to the 1964 coup d’état, The Day That Lasted 21 Years (O Dia Que Durou 21 Anos) offers a gripping insight into political machinations.

Fleshed out with archival footage and interviews with historians, politicians and academics the film details in chronological order of events. 

While modest in shape and structure, Camilo Taveres’ absorbing film has the elements of a spy novel as it details how American government paranoia about socialist politics in the South American region – sparked by Cuba and propelled by Brazilian elected president João Goulart’s links with China and left-wing stance – led to active plans to destructure Brazil.

Originated by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson the plans to overthrow the Brazilian government and support a military leader are fleshed out in original White House tapes and CIA Top Secret documents.

Fleshed out with archival footage and interviews with historians, politicians and academics the film details in chronological order of events.  US involvement as based on advice from the American ambassador to Brazil at the time Lincoln Gordon as well as the military attaché Col. Vernon A Walters.

In fact Johnson authorised a US Navy fleet led by an aircraft carrier to support the coup against Goulart under the guise of a military exercise – which in the end was not needed – while at the same time the CIA covertly supported anti-communist groups, church and business contacts. The Brazilian military dictatorship controlled, tortured and imprisoned thousands of citizens from 1964 to 1985, one of the longest dictatorships in Latin America.

The film, which had its world premiere at the Rio Film Festival, should be attractive to broadcasters – especially those with political and historical strands – and should also appeal to other film festivals. Limited theatrical in Brazil should also be a possibility.

Production company/sales: Pequi Filmes, www.pequifilmes.com.br

Producer: Karla Ladeia

Cinematography: Márcio Menezes, André Macedo, Cleumo Segond, Luiz Miyasaka

Editors: César Tuma, Verônica Saenz

Music: Dino Vicente

With: Flavio Tavares, Peter Kornbluth, Carlos Fico, Jarbas Passarinho, Newton Cruz

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