The History Of Brazil Is Round

Episodes

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01Futebol Nation20140526

David Goldblatt tells the story of Brazil through its abiding passion for the game of football, a game that has both shaped and been shaped by the dreams of generations of Brazilians. 1: Futebol Nation, In 1934, despite over a hundred years of Brazilian independence and nearly half a century as republic, poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade was still asking "Are there any Brazilians?"

The authoritarian regime of Getullio Varags which would rule the country from 1930 to 1945, and create the institutional structures of the modern Brazilian nation was asking the same question. Spared the horrors of industrial war, Brazil had no martial tradition from which to invent itself. Given the very low levels of literacy, a national press and literary culture were equally ineffective. For most of the twentieth century the nation's intelligentsia had thought that Brazil might be a new white Europe in the tropics, but as the nation's rapidly expanding cities filled with black, mulatto and indigenous Brazilians this simply did not make sense. Brazil's unique music, dance and religious moment reflected its real ethnic mix, but none could capture a sense of modernity or provide a source of international triumph. In football and in the World Cup above all, Brazil would find both.

Producer: Mark Burman.

02Serious Play20140527

David Goldblatt tells the story of Brazil through its abiding passion for the game of football, a game that has both shaped and been shaped by the dreams of generations of Brazilians. 1: Futebol Nation, In 1934, despite over a hundred years of Brazilian independence and nearly half a century as republic, poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade was still asking "Are there any Brazilians?"

The authoritarian regime of Getullio Varags which would rule the country from 1930 to 1945, and create the institutional structures of the modern Brazilian nation was asking the same question. Spared the horrors of industrial war, Brazil had no martial tradition from which to invent itself. Given the very low levels of literacy, a national press and literary culture were equally ineffective. For most of the twentieth century the nation's intelligentsia had thought that Brazil might be a new white Europe in the tropics, but as the nation's rapidly expanding cities filled with black, mulatto and indigenous Brazilians this simply did not make sense. Brazil's unique music, dance and religious moment reflected its real ethnic mix, but none could capture a sense of modernity or provide a source of international triumph. In football and in the World Cup above all, Brazil would find both.

Producer: Mark Burman.

03Playing The Hardline20140528

David Goldblatt explores the history of Brazil through its passion for football. 3: Playing the Hardline.

The Junta that came to power in 1964 purged Congress & the senior civil service. Political parties were dissolved. At first football's only place on the government's agenda was as a source of unpaid taxes. Yet by 1969, when the Junta's presidential successor General Costa e Silva, was dying of a stroke, the highest circles in government were pondering if they should announce his illness prior to Brazil's last qualifying game for the 1970 World Cup.

Afraid how the news would affect the political mood of the crowd and the performance of the team. By then the dictatorship had faced an outbreak of protest and responded with a massive backlash. Censorship of the media was intensified. The security services arrested and tortured thousands of opponents. Congress was effectively closed down. The legitimacy of the regime came to rest on supercharged economic growth and a grandiose nationalism that relied on football for its successes.

Producer: Mark Burman.

04Magic And Dreams Are Dead20140529

David Goldblatt unravels the history of Brazil through its obsession with football. In the first half of the 20th Century the beautiful game had helped define the shimmering promise and possibilities of this vast nation but now, after years of dictatorship, rampant inflation and corruption could the bewitching promise of the ball revive a nation?

In 1994, twenty-four years since they had last won, Brazil went to the World Cup under coach under Carlos Alberto Parreira. We will play in the way modern football demands. Magic and dreams are finished in football. We have to combine technique and efficiency.' Magic and dreams looked finished everywhere in Brazilian society in the 1990s. In the years after the end of military rule Brazil began to repair the damage wrought by the dictatorship. Inflation was finally brought under control, but Brazil endured two decades of slow growth, widespread poverty and rising inequality, and a crime wave to match. Brazilian democracy was consolidated and the military seemingly neutered, but it was a highly dysfunctional polity in many ways. Pragmatism and realism could get one elected, they could even win a World Cup, but they came at a cost. In football and politics, legitimacy came to rest on results alone: rouba mas faz - It's ok to steal if you get things done.

Producer: Mark Burman.

05 LASTChronicle Of A Mess Foretold20140530

David Goldblatt ends his exploration of the history of Brazil through its obsessive love of the beautiful game of football with the prospect of this years World Cup haunted by the shadows of last year's mass protests. Did the beautiful game die out there on the pitch or can the nation find any solace on the possibility of triumph with a round ball?

The events of June 2013 in Brazil were the largest wave of social protest the country had ever seen. At their peak demonstrations took place simultaneously in 120 cities. The crowds were overwhelmingly made up of the urban middle classes, a category that stretches from downtown junior officer workers to university professors, who were paying, in their own words, "European taxes to get Mozambiquean services" and despaired of the venality and incompetence of the police and public administration. This had all been the case for some time. Why then should the protests have erupted in June 2013?

What gave rhythm and focus to the protests was the simultaneous staging of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. What allowed the many grievances of the Brazilian public to coalesce into this public wave of outrage were the economic costs and the social impact of staging the 2014 World Cup to come?

Producer: Mark Burman.