Film Programs

Focus on a National Cinema: Brazil

In April 2019, Ancine—Brazil’s largest public-sector source of film and television funding—announced it was freezing its incentive programs. In July, Variety reported that far-right president Jair Bolsonaro declared Ancine “should accept ‘filters’ or face closure.” The alarms of censorship continued to sound in August, when a State of the Union–style address posted to Bolsonaro’s YouTube channel featured the president denouncing funding for LGBTQ content; a week later, according to Screen Daily, Ancine was forced to cancel the LGBT-themed series Afronte.


These developments illustrate how delicate the production of international cinema truly is. Seven titles from Brazil were selected for Cannes this year, more than from any but three other countries. But just like the fires ravaging the Amazon, cultural treasures can easily be threatened by hostile leadership. Please enjoy this selection of Brazilian films—many of which are not-so-subtly critical of the current state of life and politics in their homeland—while you still can.

Amazonia Groove
Brazil 2018 85 min.

Just as the Amazon River flows through Brazil, so do the heritage and folklore of its musicians and composers flow through their rhythms and lyrics. This breathtaking documentary synthesizes the myriad musical styles of the region—each telling a story of the land and its people.

Bacurau
Brazil 2019 131 min.

Strange things are afoot in Bacurau: The remote Brazilian village has suddenly begun disappearing from satellite maps just as it’s coming under siege from a mysterious group of foreigners in this Cannes Jury Prize–winning thriller that combines surrealism with social commentary.

Divine Love
Brazil 2019 101 min.

In a futuristic Brazil, Joana is a deeply religious woman who uses her bureaucratic position to prevent divorces. But while doing what she considers to be God’s work, she finds herself unable to conceive a child in her own marriage—and is soon plunged into a crisis of faith in this stylish drama.

The Fever
Brazil 2019 98 min.

Against a backdrop of destruction in the Amazon rainforest, this eloquent Brazilian drama centers on indigenous widower Justino, who long ago left his home with the Desana tribe to make a living in the city. Now it’s his daughter’s turn to leave for school—just as he’s contracted a mysterious fever.

Globo TV's: Aruanas
Brazil 2019 102 min.

Three idealistic women set up Aruana, an NGO that investigates the activities of a mining company operating in the Amazon rainforest, a place of harsh reality where strange events occur. They have come up with a plethora of evidence revealing environmental crimes. While they unravel a dangerous web

The Invisible Life
Brazil 2019 139 min.

Based on Martha Batalha’s darkly comic novel, this splashy Brazilian period drama set in 1940s Rio de Janeiro traces the lives of two sisters separated by a cruel father. Ever orbiting one another without connecting, they yearn for what might have been while forging their own paths.

Marighella
Brazil 2019 155 min.

When Brazil’s elected Communist government was overthrown in 1964, the ensuing military dictatorship lasted for more than 20 years. This epic biopic about leftist revolutionary Carlos Marighella and his struggle against the junta has already proven deeply controversial in his homeland.

Sick, Sick, Sick
Brazil 2019 100 min.

In this eerie, visually mesmerizing perversion of a teen romance from Brazil, young Silvia is in mourning—a mourning so intense it makes her literally lovesick. As her condition worsens, she begins to conjure up ways to resurrect the object of her obsession. She may have more power than she knows.

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