Cinema, Fascism and Propaganda. A historical approximation to the Portuguese Estado Novo

Excerpt from Pena-Rodríguez, A. (2012): "Cinema, Fascism and Propaganda. A historical approximation to the Portuguese Estado Novo":

"The SPN created a cinema section to disseminate the Estado Novo’s “política do espírito”. This organism soon mange to sell some of its documentaries to Fox Movietone News, Éclair-Journal, Ufa Wchenschan, France-Actualités, and Paramount News. Two years after the creation of the cinema section, in September 1935, the film archive of the SPNalready contained 50 films, many of them with sound, and produced exclusively by its staff or the Portuguese production companies that were hired to do specific works. The documentaries were shown for free in the headquarters of the trade unions, public squares, and the atriums of the villages, etc."

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Introduction, Cinema in the New State

Patricia Vieira: Portuguese Film, 1930-1960, The Staging of the New State Regime, Excerpt from Introduction:

"In 1937, António Ferro, director of the Portuguese Secretariat of National Propaganda (Secretariado da Propaganda Nacional), organized a semi-private screening of the film The May Revolution (A Revolução da Maio, António Lopes Ribeiro) for António de Oliveira Salazar, the country’s prime minister and de facto leader. The movie, which was about to premiere in national theaters, was produced to celebrate the Revolution of 28 May 1926 that put an end to the Portuguese First Republic (1910–26) and paved the way to the institution- alization of the New State’s (Estado Novo; 1933–74) authoritarian regime.1 It remains to this day the only Portuguese fiction film that openly conveys political propaganda. Curious about Salazar’s reaction, the next day Ferro enquired about his opinion of the film and Salazar replied: 'I liked that film a lot. I liked it too much, perhaps, because I could not sleep afterwards. This morning I could not work like I normally do. [...] I ask you, therefore, not to push me into this type of distractions any more.'"

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Propaganda, ideology and cinema in the Estado Novo of Salazar: The conversion of the unbelievers

It was António Ferro who introduced the expression 'politics of the spirit' (Paul Valéry) to Salazar (that is, the politics of culture or education), and explained the role of propaganda. The expression first appeared in an article in the Diário de Notícias, and reappeared in the famous interview with Salazar published in the same newspaper during 1932 and 1933, and which was released as a book in 1933 (Ferro 1933). It had an enormous influence on the image of the New State and its leader. (Excerpt from article by Luís Reis Torgal)

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