Recently Published: A New McLuhan Book From Brazil


It is great to see Marshall McLuhan’s influence continuing to spread outward from the English-speaking world to other countries where books by and about him are being published in their local languages. On September 17 I announced two new books about McLuhan having been published in Poland, following on my announcement of the first Polish translation of The Gutenberg Galaxy on August 17. Now we can add Brazil to the list.

McLuhan and Cinema

was published in the spring in a dual language edition, Portuguese on one side, English on the other, by Wilson Oliveira Filho.

With a preface written by Eric McLuhan and Andrew McLuhan, Wilson Oliveira Filho
UNESA’s professor, researcher and coordinator of Audiovisual Production undergraduate course launched at MEA (Media Ecology Association) 18th annual convention the bilingual book “McLuhan e o cinema “/” McLuhan and cinema” by the Brazilian publish house Verve. In Brazil, the book was launched at Oi Futuro art Gallery in Rio de Janeiro with a video homage to McLuhan and his galaxy of thoughts. The book covers from McLuhan’s performance on Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall”, references to Cronenberg’s characters to live audiovisual performances ( live cinema and Vjing art), and web audiovisual phenomena like YouTube. The book tries to draft McLuhan as a cinema theorist and how the media thinker helped us to understand films beyond the message, the moving medium beyond narratives and the image of McLuhan as a media-film-ecologist. Wilson is also a musician and a multimedia artist. With his partner, Márcia Bessa created in 2012 the DUO2x4 developing several artworks in Brazil.

The following is an excerpt from the Preface to the book written by Eric and Andrew McLuhan:
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Marshall McLuhan, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964) appeared over half a century ago, and movies and cinema have been transformed many times in that period. This book is an attempt to comment on some of these transformations, building on the original observations by
Marshall McLuhan.

Let’s take stock of some of those changes. Within a decade of the appearance of Understanding Media, it was obvious that movies on television had quite a different effect from movies in the theatre. It was discovered that the difference was in no way related to the size of the screen. The movie on television had the effect of television – not that of film. The effect, in other words, was not produced by the content, but by the way in which the new medium acted directly on the sensibilities of the audience; and so
movies made from novels did not have the effect of the novel, any more than movies on television had the effect of movies.

One of the classic examples of the film effect familiar to everyone is the roller-coaster ride: as the camera in the front car ascends the first and steepest hill, suspense builds. Then it reaches the climax and begins its downward acceleration, and every member of the audience feels the result in the pit of the stomach. Some people even become nauseous. The same scene, shown on television, has no such dramatic effect whatever. Experiments with side-by-side presentations of this scene on large television screens and film images of exactly the same proportions have demonstrated that screen size is not a factor…                                                                                                                                                                                                            **********

Table of Contents

Preface 9

Introductory Note – Don’t explain; explore and… be grateful 13

introduction Presenting an image of McLuhan 15

1. The gliding camera as an extension of man: McLuhan extending Vertov 37

2. “Tommy, can you hear me?”: memory, sensoriality, and the extensions 52

3. McLuhanian characters and objects in David Cronenberg 71

4. “Boy, if life were only like this!”: the screen is the message 89

5. Documentary beyond the rear-view mirror: on McLuhan’s Wake 109

6. Networked-memory: YouTube, a McLuhanian archive beyond images and things 121

7. McLuhan-Performer: extending/understanding live cinema 136

Conclusion Cinema as McLuhan’s extension 157

References 164

2 Responses to “Recently Published: A New McLuhan Book From Brazil”

  1. 1 Terry Gordon

    When I was preparing Gingko editions of MM’s works, I was contacted by Haskell Wexler’s biographer. Paul Cronin, asking if I thought MM had had any influence on Wexler’s Medium Cool. I told him the film illustrates a virtually complete range of McLuhan themes. Cronin did an on-camera interview with me and included it in the the documentary part of his anniversary edition of Medium Cool
    In other Portuguese news, I worked with the amazing young Brazilian scholar Hugo Langone when he was translating McLuhan (1943). O Trivium Clasico; O Lugar de Thomas Nashe no Ensino de Seu Tempo was published by Realizacoes Editora, Sao Paolo in 2012. Incredible as it may seem, Hugo translated both McLuhan AND Nashe.


  2. Thanks, Terry. I will pass your comment on to Wilson Oliviera, the author of this book, who I met at the Media Ecology Association Convention in California this past June. He gave me a copy of his book. By the way, I will get to the UM Critical edition soon. Best! Thanks again for your help and always welcome comments.


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