Experiencing Mexico vs Brazil 2014 in Cidade Tiradentes, SP

Curator's Note

This scene was shot in Cidade Tiradentes, a neighbourhood in the periphery of São Paulo, on June 17, 2014, during the Mexico-Brazil game (a 0-0 draw). We directed the clip.
The video depicts the contagious passion of Brazilians for football (soccer). It provides one way of looking at sports aficionados at the local level and outside mass media. It shows how football fans interact with each other and with the television set during the game. It highlights how the World Cup was consumed at the local level. It is also a spontaneous performance of nationalism. Experiencing this event mediated by the television set meant different things for each of us.

Alexandrine: I arrived in SP on June 15 — my first visit to Brazil. My knowledge of Portuguese being limited, I was especially aware of the sonic (firecrackers, air and vuvuzelas horns) and visual aspects (colors, flags, t-shirts, banners, graffiti) rather than the spoken language. The football fans in the bar all knew each other, took care of each other’s children and made fun of each other. They were all waiting for ‘the’ goal that never happened. Their attention was constantly shifting between their friends and the television. Observing the scene reminded me of a family portrait.

Rose: I went to Cidade Tiradentes as a field researcher for the first time almost 10 years ago. But Mexico vs. Brazil was my first World Cup game experience in this place, the largest social housing complex in Latin America. In a neighborhood where people built their own houses in a community help system, an outdated television, unlike the flat screens workers from the outskirts like to buy for their home, connected us with all Brazilians, who, rich or poor, were suffering together with our team. Worst days would come...

Sylvia: First time for me as a researcher in the outskirts of SP. As an anthropologist used to indigenous villages, the periphery may seem exotic... I was amazed to realize these people did not just "watch" the game, simply admiring with their eyes; their whole-bodies were in motion, leaping, hugs, pulling their hair, punches, screams all over. When it comes to football, Brazilians are not passive viewers. It is very different from what happens with other sports, such as tennis, swimming or team sports like basketball and volleyball, in which the audience remains relatively passive.



I love this footage and the view it provides. Thank you for sharing this. I viewed this several times, fascinated by these individuals’ (very) active watching. The pulling of hair is most excellent. From the description, and from Sylvia’s comments, I am fascinated by the geography and how it reflects the people, culture, and society. TV coverage of World Cup 2014 swept back from stadiums to show large parties around screens outside. I was somewhat discomforted by the division between those inside and outside, those with and without tickets. The stadiums themselves were such a struggle within Brazil; I took interest in those stadium walls separating those with enough resources to acquire tickets and those without. I even mapped Cidade Tiradentes. I am curious about the use of “periphery” and “outskirts” in the narrative, and the appearance of Cidad Tiradentes on the border between green and brown areas of the map. Was the experience significantly different closer to the city? What happens 1, 5, 10 miles farther “out?” I am further drawn by questions about the positioning of the people in the video as they watch the game. I over-interpret the position of the people in the shop – those inside and outside, those sitting and standing, those with chairs and without.

Thanks for your comments Robert. This footage was filmed in a tiny bar in Cidade Tiradentes. There was not enough room for everybody to sit inside the bar and there were some tables just outside it with beer that everybody was sharing. Cidade Tiradentes is in the eastern border of São Paulo, near Serra do Mar and the green you see in the map is the Mata Atlântica - the Atlantic Forest. It is a huge neighborhood with more than 200.000 people, where most of the houses were built in a community help system, as Rose says. This is a neighborhood really in the eastern periphery of the city, but here in Brazil the term "periphery" is used to quarters of workers. These are the people who in the last decade reached the lower middle classes. Watching a world cup game in Brazil is always a collective experience, something we enjoy doing with lots of friends. Rich people get together; poor people get together too. Cheering for Brazil is something that does not depend on social class.

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