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Chapter 5 examines the production of sensational melodramas outside Rio and São Paulo in the 1920s as the dynamics of the Brazilian economy fueled disparities between the urban Southeast and other regions. Film exhibition was also marked by geographic unevenness; serials and westerns were shown outside the Southeast and in smaller towns long after they were considered outdated in major cities. Semi-amateur filmmakers in regional capitals and small towns made strategic use of adventure melodrama conventions (location shooting, risky stunt sequences), with displays of local landscapes, actors’ physical virtuosity, and cinematographers’ technical capacities constituting key audience attractions. Even as Rio de Janeiro film magazines like Cinearte, Selecta and Para Todos . . . called for the modernization of film exhibition and the creation of a national film industry on the model of Hollywood, sensational genres staged cinematic images of regional modernity that contested Rio and São Paulo’s privileged place in a modernizing Brazil.

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