Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Looking back for ways ahead – Revisions Post-Dictatorship memories in Repare Bem (Maria de Medeiros) and Luz Obscura (Susana de Sousa Dias)




Repare bem (Maria de Medeiros, 2013) and Luz obscura (Susana de Sousa Dias) are illustrative examples of women documentary filmmaker's approach to post-dictatorship memory in Brazil and in Portugal. Their attempt to counterpose affective and personal memories with the official records of the state, through the use of mugshots and prison photos of members of a family nucleus taken by the oppressive apparatus of the respective regimes framed in a ‘family narrative’, is inextricable from a recovery of the memory of women’s efforts as both witnesses as and social and political agents. This article will build upon works combining a feminist approach with memory studies (Marianne Hirsch, Annette Kuhn) which provide an insight into the particularities of family photographs as a means to explore the intersection between the personal and the official, the intimate and the public, family and nation, memory and history. Both documentaries raise the stakes by questioning as well as collapsing the said binaries when they structure and order the historical source material within a ‘family frame’: mugshots and prison photos are inscribed in lieu of a speculative family album, thus performatively upsetting the ideological framework of authoritarian regimes as well as their historical legacies, currently the object of contestation and political manipulation.


MIRANDA, R. (2020). Looking back for ways ahead – Revisions Post-Dictatorship memories in Repare Bem (Maria de Medeiros) and Luz Obscura (Susana de Sousa Dias). Diacrítica: revista do centro de estudos humanísticos, 34(2), 29-47.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 12, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 31, 2020
Publication Date Jul 31, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 8, 2021
Journal Diacrítica - Revista do Centro de Estudos Humanísticos
Print ISSN 0870-8967
Electronic ISSN 2183-9174
Publisher Center for Humanistic Studies of the University of Minho
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 2
Pages 29-47
Keywords Post-Dictatorship Memory, Documentaries, Women Filmmakers, Prison photographs, Brazilian Military Dictatorship, Portuguese Estado Novo
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations