In December 1941, Orson Welles read an article in Time magazine about four Brazilian fishermen who as a protest against their labour conditions had sailed nearly 2,500 kilometres, from the city of Fortaleza to Rio de Janeiro, on a rustic sail-raft called a jangada (see Map).1 Their voyage, which lasted sixty-one days, was intended to persuade Brazil’s so-called New State (Estado Novo) to recognize the fishermen’s trade as an official profession within its expanding social programmes and centralized labour laws. The protest of the fishermen — Jerônimo André de Souza (Mestre Jerônimo), Manuel Olimpio Meira (Jacaré), Manuel Pereira da Silva (Manuel Preto) and Raimundo Correia Lima (Tatá) — was successful in part due to extraordinary national media support. The protest would also draw international attention: the half-page article in Time would bring Welles to Fortaleza to film an...

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