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Humberto Mauro
Born 30 April 1897
Volta Grande, Minas Gerais
Died 5 October 1983 (Age 86)
Volta Grande
Occupation film director, writer, cinematographer
Spouse(s) Dona Bebê (Maria Vilela de Almeida, Lola Lys)

Humberto Duarte Mauro (30 April 1897 – 5 October 1983) was a Brazilian film director. His best known work is Ganga Bruta. He is often considered the greatest director of early Brazilian cinema.


Early life

Mauro was born on a farm in Volta Grande, Minas Gerais to Caetano Mauro, an Italian immigrant, and Tereza Duarte.

At an early age he showed an interest in music and mechanics. He played the violin and mandolin. He studied electromechanics at a school in Belo Horizonte.

After one year at the school, Mauro joined his parents in Cataguases. During the time electricity began to be used in central Brazil. Mauro got a job installing electricity in local farms. He also constructed the first apparatus for radio reception in Cataguases.

In 1916 he moved to Rio de Janeiro to work as an electrician. In 1918 he returned to Cataguases. After purchasing a Kodak camera in 1923, Mauro met Pedro Cornello the leading photographer in Cataguases. Both were interested in cinema (Mauro was a fan of American serial and adventure films. Together Mauro and Cornello purchased a "Pathé-Baby" 9.5 mm. home movie camera in 1925 with which they made Valadião, o Cratera. Mauro and Cornello received financial backing from Homero Cortes Domingues, a local trader. They purchased a Rio a 35 mm. camera. They started a film called Os Três Irmãos (The Three Brothers) that was never finished. In 1925 Agenor Cortes de Barros provided additional finances. With the additional backing, Phebo Sul America Film (production company) was established. Phebo's first feature film was Na Primavera da Vida (In the Spring of Life).


Mauro's second feature film Thesouro Perdido (Lost Treasure) won the Brazilian film of the year award in 1927. Later that year Phebo Sul America Film was reorganized into Phebo Brasil Film. The first film released under the new Phebo was Braza Dormida (Sleeping Ember). Braza Dormida was a box office success and furthered Mauro's career as one of Brazil's leading directors.

In July 1929 Mauro's final film for Phebo Brasil Film, Sangue Mineiro (Blood of Minas Gerais), was shown in Cataguases. In 1930 the film was given a nation wide release. The film was critically and popularly acclaimed. This was the first film in which Mauro worked with Carmen Santos who would star in many of Mauro's later films.

Phebo Brasil Film did not have the resources to continue to produce films. Adhemar Gonzaga offered Mauro a directing job for Cinédia, which was centered in Rio de Janero. Gonzaga had started to shoot Lábios sem Beijos (Lips Without Kisses) which starred Carmen Santos. However, Carmen became pregnant was unable to finish production. Gonzaga handed the project over to Mauro, who both directed and photograpghed the film, in March 1930. Mauro decided to make the film silent even though sound was available. He wanted to explore the possibilities of silent film. Upon release in 1930, the film won the Jornal do Brasil film of the year award. Mauro acted as cinematographer for Cinédia's second film Muhler (Woman).

Mauro began shooting Ganga Bruta in September 1931. The film was not completed until 1933 due to cast replacements. The film was silent with synchronized sound recorded on Vitaphone discs added later. The film received little acclaim until two decades after its release.

Mauro co-directed his first talking film with Adhemar Gonzaga. A Voz do Carnaval (The Voice of Carnival) was a musical. Afterwards, Mauro left Cinédia for Brasil Vita Filme in 1934. He directed two feature films and several documentaries for Brasil Vita Filme. In 1936, Mauro joined the Instituto de Nacional do Cinema Educativo (INCE), which was then the government office for educational and propaganda films. Mauro shot hundreds of documentaries when he was working in INCE, and he also shot his last three movies: Descobrimento do Brasil (The Discovery of Brazil), Argila (Clay), and O Canto da Saudade (The Song of Yearning). His final film was Carro de Bois (Ox Cart), a documentary, in 1974.

Personal life

Mauro married Maria Vilela de Almeida in 1920. They were married until Mauro's death. They had three children. He is the grandfather of actress Cláudia Mauro.



As director

  • Valadião, o Cratera (1925)
  • Na Primavera da Vida (1926)
  • Thesouro Perdido (1927)
  • Braza Dormida (1929)
  • Symphonia de Cataguases (1929)
  • Sangue Mineiro (1929)
  • Lábios sem Beijos (1930)
  • Ganga Bruta (1933)
  • A Voz do Carnaval (1933)
  • Favela dos Meus Amores (1935)
  • Cidade Mulher (1936)
  • Descobrimento do Brasil (1937)
  • Argila (1940)
  • O Canto da Saudade (1952)
  • Carro de Bois (1974)

As actor

  • O Canto da Saudade (1952)
  • Memória de Helena (1969)

As screenwriter

  • Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês (for the native Tupi language dialogs) (1971)
  • Anchieto, José do Brasil (1978)
  • A Noiva da Cidade (1979)

As cinematographer

  • Mulher (1931)



Mauro was a member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 1938.


External links


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