Portrayals of Trauma in Film as a Tool for Analyzing Imperial Residues of the New State in Portugal Open Access

Namen, Eliana (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/g732db32z?locale=en


From nineteen thirty-three to nineteen seventy-four, Portugal was under the Salazar regime, also known as the New State. During this time, the secret military police, the PVDE/PIDE/DGS (Polícia de Vigilância e Defesa do Estado/ Polícia Internacional e de Defesa do Estado/ Direcção-Geral de Segurança) took on the role of judge, jury, and executioner and worked to repress political and social retaliation as well as control immigration. The unchecked powers of the PVDE/PIDE/DGS infringed upon the civil and human rights of the people, which had devastating effects on mental health, familial structures, basic human freedoms, and social attitudes of nationalism and conservatism. Therefore, trauma induced by the New State is the mode for which I have chosen to analyze the rejection of the imperial narrative the regime so greatly desired. The goal of this work is to analyze the ways in which two contemporary, co- produced films, The Night Train to Lisbon and O Julgamento discuss the breakdown of the Portuguese social fabric left by imperial residues. The lingering fragments of imperialism are explored through the depictions of torture, silence, repressed memory, and how differing perspectives critique the societal implications of these residues. My research is divided into the following three chapters: the history and foundational core of the New State and its main pillars of nationalism and conservatism, a glimpse into Portuguese film produced during the dictatorship, and finally, films made after the fall of the regime that work to counter these imperial narratives.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Burying the Past 1

Chapter 1: The New State’s Battle for Order 7

Pillars of the Portuguese New State 8

Conservatism 9

Nationalism 11

Censorship of the Media for the “Common Good” 13

To Be or Not to Be: A Fascist Regime 16

Antônio de Oliveira Salazar: The Face of an Ideology 19

Marcelo Caetano: The Show Must Go On 22

State-Sanctioned Violence in the Form of PVDE/PIDE/DGS 24

Chapter 2: A Glimpse into Portuguese Cinema 28

History of Portuguese Film 29

Film as Propaganda during the Portuguese New State 32

Propaganda: The Imperial Fetish and its Residues 37

Goals of Portuguese Films after the Fall of the New State 39

Chapter 3: Films Made After April 25, 1974 45

Imperialistic Residues within The Night Train to Lisbon 45

The Sound of the Empire 49

Peering into the Past Through Mise-en-scène 52

The Use of Editing to Link Lives 55

Finally Speaking the Truth: Dialogue 56

Final Thoughts and Reactions to The Night Train to Lisbon  61

A Trial by the People: O Julgamento  65

Close-ups, Long Shots, and Editing for The Trial  68

Dialogue and Mise-en-scène in Finding the Truth 74

Comparing Residues: The Night Train to Lisbon and O Julgamento  85

Conclusion: Final Thoughts on How Art Confronts Ghosts 90

Works Cited 98

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