Limite. 1931. Brazil. Written and directed by Mário Peixoto. 114 min.
With Olga Breno, Tatiana Rey, Raul Schnoor. The long-unseen 1931 masterpiece by then-23-year-old Brazilian Mário Peixoto, Limite was admired by Orson Welles for its formal experimentation and shunned by Cinema Novo leader Glauber Rocha for its purported bourgeois decadence and hermetic intellectualism. Peixoto’s cinematic tone poem, set to musical themes by Igor Stravinsky, Erik Satie, and other European composers, was inspired by the Soviet montage theorists, the visual “impressionism” of the French avant-garde, the plastic arts of Brazilian modernism—and most specifically by an André Kertesz photograph from the French journal Vu, of a woman embraced by a man in handcuffs, that would become the leitmotif of this dreamlike film. For nearly a half century Limite was only known through badly worn prints, but a painstaking restoration by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in collaboration with Cinemateca Brasileira, Arquivo Mário Peixoto, and the contemporary Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles has returned Peixoto’s lone film to its proper glory.