The film does not have a story. There are three characters and violent action. I was interested in making a technical experiment, concernig the problem of the resistance of the duration of the cinematographic take. There, we can see how the technique interferes in the cinematographic process. I decided to make a film in which each take would have the length of a chassis, and study the almost elimination of the editing when there is a verbal action and a psychological action in the same take. – Glauber Rocha
Glauber Rocha recalls in his book Revolução do Cinema Novo: In 1968, some people would say “the path for the cinema is the colour film, the great spectacle”. Others would disagree: “the path for the cinema is the 16mm underground film”. But the path for the cinema, Rocha wrote, “are all the paths”. Cancer – a 16mm long-length motion picture in black and white – tries to prove that.
With no story in particular, the film is mainly just three actors (Odete Lara, Hugo Carvana and Antonio Pitanga) in a situation of psychological, sexual and racial violence, during a 90 minutes span of time. On the lead, absolute improvisation. (…)
Filmed in four days with part of Antonio das Mortes’ crew, Cancer took four years to be edited. It was seen at that early time, although in fragments, by the author’s cotérie, and it certainly fecundated the underground trend in which Rogério Sganzela and Júlio Bressane turned up to be the great masters. Isa Cambará e Sérgio Augusto