burial edson luis
Protest on the facade of the cinema, during the funeral of Edson Luís, in March 1968 – Photo: Reproduction

CInemas from Rio de Janeiro announced in bold letters films that were not showing at that time: Grief Heart, Point blank e The Night of the Generals. It was a way of joining the protests that took over Rio after high school student Edson Luís de Lima Souto was shot in the chest during an invasion by the Military Police of the popular restaurant Calabouço, in the center of the city.

Born into a poor family in Belém do Pará, Edson Luís had moved to Rio to study at the Instituto Cooperativa de Ensino. He was 18 years old. Like 300 other colleagues with few financial resources, he ate his meals at the Central dos Estudantes Restaurant, better known as Calabouço. They were getting ready to make a lightning march when the police arrived shooting. Several students were injured.

Shot in the chest, Edson Luís was taken to a hospital three blocks from the Calabouço, but he was already dead. It was late afternoon on March 28, 1968. Instead of leaving the body for the autopsy, the students carried it to the Legislative Assembly for a wake. The following day, at least 50 people accompanied the coffin to the cemetery, holding the first major demonstration against the dictatorship.

The year had just begun, but it would be so tumultuous and tragic that it would inspire the work 1968 - The year that didn't end, by journalist Zuenir Ventura. In practice, 1968 closed the time on December 13, with the decree of Institutional Act Number 5, the one that ended all constitutional guarantees. From there, the make-believe democracy staged by the dictatorship since the March 1964 coup collapsed.

Edson Luís' death went unpunished. Fifty years later, the Pedro Ernesto Palace, former seat of the Legislative Assembly, houses the City Council of Rio de Janeiro. Fifty years later, gunfire once again transformed the palace into a space to watch over victims of violence, this time councilor Marielle Franco and driver Anderson Gomes, executed on March 14. A sign that redemocratization left so much to be desired that it is now going backwards. That's why Marielle's death cannot go unpunished.

In times of recording by cell phone, videos of tributes to Marielle are going around the world. It was not so in the recent past. Filmmaker Eduardo Escorel filmed scenes of the procession and burial of Edson Luís in March 1968 but, with the intensification of repression, he preferred to deliver the material to the Cinematheque of the Museum of Modern Art. The 12-minute footage only reappeared in 2008, after 40 years of misplacement. See scenes:

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