The seven states of Brazil’s Northeast move fast and slow. No doubt the best known picture of the region is that of persisting poverty and emigration, but in fact there is a long history of social and political protest. The contrast between the known and the lesser known Northeast, became the topic of the documentary which we made in the years 2000 – 2002 as an independent project.

The contrasts are abundant. In spite of the desperation and void that have replaced the once so firm belief in the blessings of modernity, there are enough occasions when, like during the gay parade in Salvador, the city becomes a stage for an outburst of optimism. And still, those who have migrated to the cities often could not be worse off.

On the other hand, the popular religious faith and a deep-rooted sense of a culture of one’s own can survive even in the city slums. And it certainly does among those who have decided to stay in the sertão, the dry backlands. In Palmares, a settlement of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) in the interior of Ceará, seu Antônio, father of ten sons all named Francesco, likes to recollect memories of the land occupation that brought so many together.

Next to the internationally known MST, there are also others like the upsurgent indigenous people, who challenge the traditional power of big landowners and other gatekeepers in the society. If they are to survive, they cannot but be on the move, socially, politically, and emotionally.

  • 'Northeast on the move', ei8ht photojournalism, Vol. 2, No. 2 /2003, 34-43
  • 'Pólnocny Wschódinna Brazylia', fotopozytyw, No. 03/2004, 20-29
  • 'Zwischen Misstrauen und Hoffnung. Brasiliens Nordosten', Kommune, Forum für Politik, Ökonomie, Kultur , 3/04, 18-21
  • Photography for the publication: 'Cannibals, Crabs and Carmen Miranda: How Brazilian Modernists Keep on Unsettling Modernity', Elisa Veini, Third Text 2004


    Special thanks to: MST Palmares, Luzia XXX in Crateús; Maria Amelia Leite, Aline and Flôrencio / Associação Missão Tremembé; Jan Glissenaar / Vereniging Wederzijds; Jon Levy / FOTO8
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