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World Fire destroys Brazil film archive

12:45  30 july  2021
12:45  30 july  2021 Source:   afp.com

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A film warehouse in Sao Paulo was partially destroyed by a fire Thursday just months after employees of the Cinemateca Brasileira had warned of such a disaster, accusing the government of deliberately neglecting the cultural institution. Fifteen fire trucks and more than 50 firefighters battled the flames for over two hours The warehouse that went up in flames was a secondary site and not the headquarters of the Cinemateca Brasileira, which boasts South America's largest film archive but has -- like many of Brazil 's prized cultural collections -- been mired in allegations of poor government oversight.

RIO DE JANEIRO (Sputnik) - A fire erupted overnight in the building belonging to Brazil 's national film institute, the Cinemateca Brasileira, in Sao Paulo, destroying almost 1,000 square meters (10,700 square feet) of its territory, the UOL news portal reported.

A film warehouse in Sao Paulo was partially destroyed by a fire Thursday just months after employees of the Cinemateca Brasileira had warned of such a disaster, accusing the government of deliberately neglecting the cultural institution.

Fifteen fire trucks and more than 50 firefighters battled the flames for over two hours, but were unable to save all of the cinematheque's warehouse © - Fifteen fire trucks and more than 50 firefighters battled the flames for over two hours, but were unable to save all of the cinematheque's warehouse

Fifteen fire trucks and more than 50 firefighters battled the flames for over two hours, but were unable to save all of the cinematheque's warehouse, according to local television footage. 

The fire started around 6 pm during maintenance work on the air conditioning system, the fire department said, adding that at least two rooms containing films and other files had been destroyed. 

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BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — A Brazilian government warehouse storing movies, documents and antique projectors from Brazil ’s film industry has caught fire in Sao Paulo. The fire department says 15 fire vehicles and 50 firefighters are at the site trying to prevent the flames from spreading to a larger area of the The warehouse is owned by the national film institute, Cinemateca. It houses South America’s largest collection of films , some made of cellulose nitrate, a highly flammable material. The films in the warehouse were copies for exhibition, not originals, and the extent of the loss from the blaze Thursday

Michel Temer, Brazilian President, via Twitter One of the largest museums of natural history andanthropology in the Americas, Most of the artifacts are expected to have been destroyed . “Luzia” — one of the oldest human remains found in the Americas — Joao Carlos Nara, museum preservation director, via CNN A spokesman for the Rio fire department According to the BBC, Joao Carlos Nara, museum preservation director, via CNN.

Fueled by the highly flammable acetate film material, the fire spread rapidly through the building housing over 2,000 film copies, according to local reports. 

The warehouse that went up in flames was a secondary site and not the headquarters of the Cinemateca Brasileira, which boasts South America's largest film archive but has -- like many of Brazil's prized cultural collections -- been mired in allegations of poor government oversight.

Filmmakers, artists and employees have accused far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's government of "dismantling" the cinematheque.

In July 2020, the Sao Paulo public prosecutor's office filed a lawsuit alleging the federal government had "abandoned" the institution and withheld resources, while questioning the absence of a manager to administer it. The following month, the cinematheque effectively ceased to function after 41 officials resigned.

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Budgetary cuts are being blamed for the building's vulnerability to fire .

Thursday's fire was "a foretold tragedy," film critic Lauro Escorel told GloboNews television.

In April, a "Manifesto of the Workers of the Cinemateca Brasileira" warned of the risk of a fire, due to the lack of care "with the material, the equipment, the databases and the buildings."

The film warehouse is the latest repository of Brazil's rich cultural history to go up in smoke after the 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro was gutted by a 2018 inferno, and a fire damaged the Portuguese Language Museum in 2015.

Conservationists have called for better protection of and funding for the country's cultural and scientific heritage. 

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