Carlos Diegues was born in Maceio, Alagoas in 1940. And he was only 6 years-old when his family of small rural property owners moved to Rio de Janeiro. Cacá went to study at a traditional Jesuit school Santo Inácio and, after that, he began to study Law at Pontifícia Universidade Católica University . Soon, he assumed the Student Council and creates a film club with his friends: David Neves, Arnaldo Jabor, Paulo Perdigão and others. The New Cinema begins to launch in Rio. The political and cultural integration was also evident at others activities during his student years: Cacá edited “O Metropolitano”, UME´s official newspaper and engage at CPC (Popular Cultural Centre) of UNE (National Union of Students).
Inside CPC will born his first professional cinema project : “Samba School – Hapiness to live”, segment of the feature film “5X Slum”, produced in 1961. Before this, Cacá had already done his first short films: “Fuga” and “Domingo”. He would produce another short film – documentary “Oito universitários” – in 1967.
His first feature film will be produced in 1964: “Ganga Zumba”, that composes the utopic brazilian trilogy with “A grande cidade” (The big city,1966) and “Os herdeiros” (The inheritors, 1969) during the military dictadorship´s. Precisely in 1969, one year after the AI-5 , Cacá decided to live the country with his wife, the singer Nara Leão.
However, Cacá stayed a brief time abroad. In 1972, he was back to release “Quando o carnaval chegar” (When Carnival comes) , followed by “Joanna Francesa” (Franch Joanna,1973). During the 70´s, he will have one of his major box-office hit: “Xica da Silva” (1976), with an exuberant Zezé Motta and a bunch of metaphors about Brazilian political life. This decade will be finished with the political amnesty. Beyond new breaths of liberty all over the country, Cacá Diegues coined the term "patrulhas ideológicas" (ideological patrols) which , till today, refers to any kind of censorship or control of cultural production liberty. Besides his brainworking, writing and quarrel about politics and arts, Cacá went on filming and, at the century turn´s, release two hits: Chuvas de verão (Summer rains,1978) and “Bye bye Brasil” (1980). At last, this was his the profile since university days: to join thoughts and cinema.
His 80´s production put together 3 features: “Quilombo” (1984), “Um trem para as estrelas” (A train to the stars,1987) and “Dias melhores virão” (Better days ahead, 1989). However, a crisis was getting closer in the 90´s: the Brazilian Cinema production decreased hardly. Cacá Diegues finds a solution: the TV´s partnership. Then, he realizes “Veja esta canção” (See this song) in 1994, in association to TV Cultura. The following year, the production began the moviment that was called “Retomada”. It was 1995 and, soon, Cacá was back to the big screen with “Tieta do agreste” (1996), followed by “Orfeu” (1999) and “Deus é brasileiro” (God is Brazilian, 2002), three adaptations of great Brazilian literary masterpieces, getting even closer the relation that the director always had with numerous artistic manifestations. However, 2006 is the year to return to the original screenplay: “O maior amor do mundo” (The greatest love in the world) written by himself, meeting again one of the most ancient partner: the actor José Wilker.
2007. It´s the beginning of a Project in which Cacá Diegues is the mastermind and supervisor: a new 5X Slum. Now, the scriptwriters, directors and all the crew live at carioca´s communities. Named “5X Slum – Now by Ourselves”, it´s a kind of return to the 60´s, announcing new times. Nowadays, it´s not the intellectual medium class who “talks” about the slums. It´s no more necessary: each one can talk about oneself. Cacá Diegues joins the ends: the artistic, the intellectual and the political meet the new narratives that flourish in the streets and screens.
[i] União Metropolitana dos Estudantes, Student´s Metropolitan Association
[ii] AI-5, Institucional Act Number 5 suspended most of the civil liberties.