Best known to international audiences for its carnivalesque irreverence and recent gangster blockbusters, Brazilian cinema is gaining prominence with critics, at global film festivals and on DVD shelves. This volume seeks to introduce newcomers to Brazilian cinema and to offer valuable insights to those already well versed in the topic. It brings into sharp focus some of the most important movements, genres and themes from across the eras of Brazilian cinema, from cinema novo to musical chanchada, the road movie to cinema de bordas, avant-garde to pornochanchada. Delving deep beyond the surface of cinema, the volume also addresses key themes such as gender, indigenous and diasporic communities and Afro-Brazilian identity. Situating Brazilian cinema within the country's changing position in the global capitalist system, the essays consider uneven modernization, class division, dictatorship, liberation struggles and globalization alongside questions of entertainment and artistic innovation.