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Technological advancements of the time also helped the popularity of “Beto Rockfeller". This telenovela production was the first to use videotape (Lopez, 1995).

According to Fernandes (1994), this novela served as the blueprint for future productions, not only in the format, but also in the structure of the storyline. Because of the lack of organization at the time, even the mishaps, which forced the cast and production to be experts in improvisation, are used as a reference to this day. "Beto Rockfeller" combined the many characteristics of what was called by Straubhaar (1982) as a "Brazilianized telenovela". The concoction of the new formula was created by combining the use of colloquial language, the infusion of humor and improvisation, the preoccupation with portraying the reality of the country, and the incorporation of characters representing the vast spectrum of society. Mattelart & Matterlart (1990) well describe the impact of Beto Rockfeller in the terms of a national production:

Beto Rockfeller" coincides with the period of the so-called Brazilian miracle, which saw an average annual growth rate of 11 percent before brutally deflating toward 1973. This model of growth benefited only a middle class minority (20 percent), but installed the consumption patterns of this well-off group as a point of reference for the aspirations of the whole population. "Beto" the first novela with a self-consciously modern feel, represented the coming together of a national genre and appealed to a mass national audience that cut across social categories, age groups, income differences, and professions.

Globo realized that the formula created by Gloria Magadán was no longer working. To counteract the success of its rival network, they implement a new vision for their production department, dropping Magadán and hiring Janete Clair. Until her demise in 1983, Janete Clair was essentially responsible for the success of the 8 p.m. novelas. Janete Clair was able to fuse the new tendency towards realism and Brazilian themes with known melodramatic plots, proving to be the "Queen of novelas" (Tavola, 1996). One of the most memorable novelas in Clair's repertoire was "Irmãos Coragem", aired in 1970. It was the first novela to be broadcasted nationally (Hamburger, 1999). The story was set in Coroado, a fictitious village in the countryside.

The action starts when the eldest brother working in a diamond mine had his diamond stolen. The script combined western style and romantic plots of forbidden love (Fernandes, 1994). Representing the tendency to show the reality of the country, Clair infused the dialogues with slang and regionalisms. She touched social and political issues through Colonel Pedro Barros, a feared character depicted as arbitrary and authoritarian, and the most powerful figure in Coroado (Távola, 1996). She also added a soccer player to the plot, in the height of the soccer World Cup (Fernandes, 1994). However, the most important claim to fame this novela can make is that of being the first to attract the male audience. Ortiz et. al. (1991) argue that this production can be viewed as a "masculine novela", revolving around a diamond mine and soccer, reclaiming the style of a Hollywood western. They added that the telenovelas considered realistic were the ones able to attract the male audience.

The recreation of the melodramatic formula brought a modernization of themes to the novela along with the use of Brazilian writers coming from the theater and cinema (Lopez 1991; Straubhaar 1982; Martin-Barbero 1992). The inclusion of well-known writers such as Dias Gomes (Clair’s husband), Lauro César Muniz, and Bráulio Pedroso consolidated the transformation of the telenovela genre in Brazil. Their work was anchored in the reality of the country and personified a more complex narrative form. They created characters that struggled with the same obstacles faced by the audience in everyday life. However, there was still room for a diversified narrative, including love, humor, irony, and the use of colloquial speech and popular expressions (Martín-Barbero, 1995). By adding the reality of the country in the thematic scheme of the novelas, Globo brought the discussion of current issues into Brazilian households (La Pastina, 1999). Hoineff (1996) criticized Brazilian television representation of reality saying that it has transformed into an expression of reality itself, he argues that the networks have abused their power by influencing viewers, dictating behavior and fabricating public opinion.

In his study of the influence of telenovelas in the 1994 presidential election, Porto (1998) affirms that telenovelas were a "key public forum in the discussion of political and social issues." Page (1995) talked about the enmeshment of the fiction showed in the novelas and reality, making these two distinctive phenomenons blur into one “fictional reality". To illustrate his point, the author cites the case of the brutal assassination of a young actress in December of 1992. Several hours before her murder, the actress had filmed a scene in which her character angrily broke up with her boyfriend. It turned out that the actor who played her boyfriend along with his pregnant wife committed the crime. To add to this surreal situation, the author of the novela "Corpo e Alma" Gloria Perez was the mother of the victim. There was a tremendous popular interest in this case in Brazil, and even the announcement of the resignation of the country’s president Fernando Collor at that time, appeared to pale in importance. In talking about telenovelas and Brazilian culture, Page (1995) justifiably named this relationship a "national obsession".

Mattelart & Mattelart (1990) cited Dias Gomes’ definition of Brazilian telenovelas as an “open work” or an “open genre”, to explain the uniquenesses of this genre. The telenovela production is concurrent with the broadcast; therefore, the author can modify the script while watching the work on the air. Many times popular opinion determines the fate of a character, or the telenovela’s final episode. The writers receive numerous influences directly or indirectly, by fans, church, politics, advertisers, government, and activist groups (Hamburger, 1999). There is also a sophisticated system developed by Globo to evaluate public outlook, with the use of opinion poll research, focus groups, and the analysis of the large volume of letters that are addressed to the network and to the author throughout the telenovela (Mattellart & Mattelart, 1990). Ismael Fernandes (1994) lists thirty-four telenovela authors in his work compiling all Brazilian telenovelas. The production schedule is rigorous, forcing long hours of work; therefore, it is becoming customary to have a co-author sharing the work. The writer also has the assistance of two apprentice scriptwriters and one documentalist, responsible for the cohesiveness of the reality represented in the drama (Mattellart & Mattelart, 1990).


 



 


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements / Dedication - Abstract

CHAPETER 1- INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER II - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30-31-32-33-34-35-36-37-38-39









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