A fire devastated Thursday a warehouse of the Brazilian Cinematheque of Sao Paulo which contained some 2,000 copies of films, an incident considered by the filmmakers as a
after what they denounce as errors in the cultural policy of the Bolsonaro government .
For more than two hours, about fifty firefighters fought the flames that destroyed a large part of the building, according to images broadcast on television.
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The disaster broke out at 6 p.m. local, during an air conditioning maintenance operation, said firefighters, adding that at least two movie theaters and another containing archives were destroyed.
The rapid spread of the fire was due to acetate films, an extremely flammable material, according to local media.
The burned-down building is not the headquarters of the Cinémathèque, which is located in another district of Sao Paulo.
The warehouse housed copies of films, many of them rare and sometimes in better condition than the originals, according to specialists.
It is as if the country no longer has a family album.
It is not just a place of deposit.
It is a living place, with the memory of the country.
Kléber Mendonça, director
In recent years, four fires and a flood have affected various buildings of this cultural institution, founded in 1940. Filmmakers, artists and employees have denounced for months a policy of
the Cinematheque on the part of the President's government far-right, Jair Bolsonaro.
In July 2020, the Sao Paulo public prosecutor's office launched legal action against the federal government for
the Cinémathèque, questioning the withholding of resources and the absence of a manager due to a legal imbroglio.
The following month, the institution ceased to function and 41 officials resigned.
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In April this year, a "Manifesto of the Brazilian Cinematheque workers" warned of the "risk of fire", due to the lack of care for
"the material, the equipment, the databases and the buildings. "
. Thursday's fire was
"a tragedy foretold,"
cinema critic Lauro Escorel said on Globonews. The filmmaker Kléber Mendonça had denounced at the beginning of July to AFP in Cannes the
"sabotage of the system of support for culture"
and the closure of the Cinémathèque.
“It's as if the country no longer has a family album. It is not just a place of deposit. It is a living place, with the memory of the country "
, had said the director of