Theater: "Mario" exposes the destruction of a homosexual dancer by dictatorship – Showbiz

Theater: "Mario" exposes the destruction of a homosexual dancer by dictatorship - Showbiz

Her story was retrieved by researcher António Fernando Cascais, from the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the New University of Lisbon, who analyzes it through different sources in "Where I do not dance, loneliness does it for me: Valentim de Barros ", one of the essays in the book" Hospital Miguel Bombarda 1968 ", with photographs by the doctor José Fontes, published by Documenta / Solar System, in 2016.

Cascais, who recognizes the need for a "background approach" to Valentim de Barros 'biography, thinks here of the dancer' s journey, as well as the context in which it is unfolding and the perception that is taken from it, based on available documents, which they range from the PIDE predecessor of the State Surveillance and Defense Police (PVDE) process to interviews conducted at different times in their lives.

Of these, António Fernando Cascais analyzes in particular the interview / report made in 1968, for the Diário de Lisboa, by journalist Luís de Oliveira Nunes, expert in cultural themes and Fellow of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, "which conveys the complete stereotype of the effeminate man" , without ever writing the word "homosexuality" (in full dictatorship), and what Maria João Avillez would later do for Expresso, 12 years later, in 1980, translated into an ethical approach that recognizes "the character", not the sick , the "social case" and not the mental one, the man who was "more memory than life".

The chronological sequence of these texts, writes Cascais, which joins the testimony of journalist João Leal do Zêzere, who was also interned at Miguel Bombarda in 1953, "not only records the course of Valentine's life, but has the immense additional value of patent the evolution of social attitudes towards homosexuality. "

From more recent texts, Fernando Cascais highlights the report “The New State said that there were no homosexuals, but they were persecuting them”, by journalist São José Almeida, in the Público newspaper of July 17, 2009 (which would expand to the book "Homosexuals in the New State" in 2010), and the biography "Valentim de Barros, the dancer to whom they stole life", signed by journalist Bruno Horta, published in "chapters" by the portal Sapo in February 2014.

The researcher also recalls the "non-cruelty" tone with which António Lobo Antunes described Valentim de Barros in his third novel, "Knowledge of Hell" (1980), in a portrait that he considers as "deplorable" as that of Leal do Zêzere. in the book "In the World of Delirium and Hallucination" (1955).

"All Valentine's life has been devoted to the smallest detail to explain this homosexuality that has become itself, to fill with the raw material of his biography, the meaning and substance of an otherwise empty word of content and of people ", writes Cascais.

And yet, "out of the handful of famous interns at Miguel Bombarda Hospital, Valentim de Barros is the one who still has more to know, because fewer secrets would have the biographies of others (…) and much is left. [apenas] to guess under the descriptions, reports and interviews that restore their history ", writes Fernando Casais.

For the university professor and researcher, what is known, however, is enough to put Valentim "in the position of historical victim" and to recognize at the same time the inability to convert this awareness of victimization "into a consequent political discourse."

Putting Valentim de Barros "in the initial position from which the movement that leads from shame to pride" and the construction of identity is triggered, Cascais finally speaks of the importance of his case and the "fierce wisdom" that it imposes and "on us." prevents you from forgetting ".

In 2013, Pavilion 31 of the Lisbon Psychiatric Hospital Center mounted the evocative exhibition "The Valentine's Ballet of Barros". Four years later, in 2017, the Embrace gala honored him, and last year, duo Fado Bicha, by Lila Fadista and João Caçador, dedicated him a fado.

"Mário – Story of a Dancer in the New State" now takes Valentim de Barros' story to the stage of room 2 of Cinema São Jorge, where it will be on stage until September 1st.

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