Gabriel Guedes, ‘19: Related By Blood

Summer 2019

About the Project

My Benenson award allowed me to complete a film that observes the ways in which ideology is passed down through the family by looking specifically at the relationships between my extended family and the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. The film also visually represents my journey through a city where I experienced a new sense of alienation due to my absence and political development.

When I arrived in Brazil, I had a rough outline of questions that I wanted to ask and a list of people that I wanted to interview. The interviews would have benefited from a strictly defined set of questions so that I could employ a more parallel structure in the film rather than having one person talk for an extended period. I felt like what I learned was essentially what I expected: that the position of privilege enjoyed by my extended family allowed them to pass through the dictatorship unscathed and made them sympathetic toward a leader who would protect their class interests (i.e. Bolsonaro). However, the lack of rigidity in the questions made it difficult to draw an explicit line between their experience during the dictatorship and their current right-wing sympathies, except for when they offered it up themselves.

About the Artist

I grew up in suburban Maryland. Both of my parents immigrated from Brazil, and I had visited my extended family in Rio de Janeiro regularly until 2014. My parents fostered my interest in film since I was young, but I began exploring aspects related to history, aesthetics, and production when I was in high school. I came to Duke with the intent to study math, but this continued interest in film and a new interest in critical theory led to me the Global Cultural Studies major and the AMI certificate, whereby I was able to combine my desires for analysis and production. This fall I will begin a Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.