See this film retrospective: "Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Cinema Novo and Beyond" @ the HFA

Barren Lives (Vidas Secas)

Brazilian cinema owes much of its vitality, relevance, and international stature to the director celebrated in the Harvard Film Archive retrospective, "Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Cinema Novo and Beyond," which runs through May 7. For over half a century dos Santos has made vivid neorealistic films that are politically committed and quintessentially Brazilian. The series opens on Friday, April 20 with one of his best, the aptly titled Barren Lives (1968; 7 pm), in which a destitute family struggles to survive in the desert. Also screening is his outlandish, rarely seen sci-fi farce Who Is Beta? (1972; 9 pm ), which is kind of like a Vittorio De Sica zombie movie. The Archive is in the Carpenter Center, 24 Quincy St, Cambridge | $9; $7 students, seniors  | 617.495.4700 or

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