Brazil woke up to sad, tragic news today, as filmmaker Eduardo Coutinho, 81, was reported dead in his apartment after he and his wife were stabbed. The main suspect, according to the police, is their own son, a 41 year old man with a history of mental problems. Coutinho's wife Maria, 62, is in the hospital recovering from her wounds, as is Daniel, 41, their son, who supposedly tried to commit suicide after the attack.
Coutinho is considered one of the most important and influential filmmakers of all time in Brazil and was recently inducted in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Still active after a career of more than 45 years, he was planning to direct a new film about the wave of protests that happened in Brazil last June.
Best known for his work in documentaries such as Twenty Years Later (1984) and Edificio Master (2002), widely recognized as two masterpieces, Coutinho began his career close to the Cinema Novo movement in the 60's. He moved to television in the 70's, where he and a group of filmmakers shot 16mm documentaries that revolutionized the format.
The commercial release of Santo Forte (1999) in local cinemas marks the beginning of a strong sequence of documentary features that presented his unique talent as an interviewer as well as his humanist and intense vision to a whole new generation. It includes some of his most impressive work, such as Babilonia 2000 (2000), Peões (2004) and As Canções (2011), which sadly turned out to be his last film.