Dr Lisa Shaw has recently organised an outreach event entitled ‘Cinema, Memória e Bem-estar’ (Cinema, Memory and Wellbeing) for eighty elderly users of the Fazenda Inglesa health centre in the town of Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil. Building on Dr Shaw’s expertise on the work, image, and representations of Carmen Miranda, this event is the most recent in a series which started in Liverpool. The event involved screening clips of Brazilian musical comedy films (chanchadas) from the 1950s and 1960s to audiences aged over 65. Divided into small teams and captained by a community health worker from the centre, audience members then took part in a related ‘memory and reminiscence quiz’, while enjoying popcorn and other refreshments. The event concluded with all the participants having their photos taken in the guise of either Carmen Miranda or Mazzaropi, two popular stars of Brazilian cinema.
This event is part of a project that combines Shaw’s previous research on Brazilian popular cinema with pioneering work on how film-related reminiscence can improve the health and wellbeing of the elderly. In the course of her research for her 2013 monograph on Carmen Miranda Shaw interviewed fans of the star and noted how frequently they reported their mood and sense of well-being to be enhanced by viewing that star’s musical comedy films.