In his second trip to Brazil in the 16th century, German soldier and mariner Hans Staden was held captive by the Tupinambá tribe. During the nine months of his captivity he was able to witness facts of those people´s every day life, including the way they treated their captured enemies. According to Staden, cannibalism was common practice among the Tupinambá, but it followed a certain ritual, and the victims were usually prisoners of war. They would only eat those they feared or admired, and before killing their "meal" they would perform a dialogue in which they said why they were doing that and the victim would reply that his friends would revenge him. And then he would become lunch.
No one knows for sure whether Staden exaggerated a little bit on his accounts, taken that he survived and did not become a meal, but in the beginning of the 20th century, in the 20´s, Brazilian author Oswald de Andrade used that as a metaphor for what he called the Brazilian Anthropophagus Movement.
According to him, instead of writing like Europeans, Brazilians had to "devour" the European style and create something original out of that. *Sigh* . For the next decades, the anxiety of being original gave birth to some mistaken and unappealing experiments not only in literature, but also in cinema, ignoring popular culture. Oswald´s mistake, in my view, was that he wanted something original, instead of something new.
Fortunately, in the 90´s , a new generation of writers and filmmakers brushed that off and decided to follow their own inclinations and ideas, and it´s been working very well. Finally, readers and movie goers can see their own face in what´s being produced in their country. And it really doesn´t matter whether it´s original or not.
Really, is there such a thing as originality?
We can´t be original: we came late. Brazil is a very young nation, formed by people from every corner of the world. You can find absolutely every culture in Brazil: Indigenous, European, Asian, African... you name it. And we all get along.
Now, that´s new.