Mário Carneiro (1930 - 2007)


    In Brazil, Mario Carneiro is best recognised for his career in film, having worked as director of photography and cinematographer with some of the country's most celebrated directors, including Glauber Rocha, Paulo César Serraceni, and Joel Pizzini. His earlier career as a printmaker however, and particularly his dialogue with the artist Iberê Camargo, is regarded as equally important to the development of his visual and technical expertise in the field of cinema.

    Having excelled in his entrance examinations to study architecture, Carneiro was awarded a years study in Paris (1948); here, his interest in film developed. He met Sergio Milliet (also resident in Paris at this time) and through him was introduced to the avant-garde cinema (including films by Luis Bueñuel and Salvador Dalí) joying a revival in France after the Second World War. Returning to Rio to complete his degree in architecture, Carneiro continued to pursue his interest in cinema, attending screenings of works by Sergei Eisenstein, organised by a cine-club based in the University's philosophy department.

    After graduation, Carneiro was awarded a grant by the French government to study Urbanism in Paris (1953). Again his interest in the cinema won out over his official course of study. It was also in Paris that he began to study with Iberê Camargo, who was in the city after winning a travel prize in Brazil. Each day - from seven in the morning until departing for his Urbanism classes at midday - he studied printmaking and painting with Camargo. The two formed a close friendship and Carneiro has described this training as formative for his vision as a cinematographer, attributing his ability to move into the technical media of photography and film to this close engagement with the complex process of printmaking.

    Carneiro returned to Brazil in 1958, and a series of large prints was accepted for exhibition at the Bienal Internacional de São Paulo in the same year. Despite setting up an architectural practice, and continuing to sustain a successful career in visual art, Carneiro decided at the end of the fifties to accede to the fact that his strongest interest lay in filmmaking. Many of the films on which he has worked have maintained the close relationship to visual art that was so formative to his success as a cinematographer, from Paulo César Serraceni's Memória do Corpo, Lygia Clark to Joel Pizzini's Pintura-Iberê Camargo. His career in film long-established, Carneiro returned to fine art, as a painter, in 1997 and his first solo exhibition for a decade was held at the Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro in 2001.

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