Maybe Brazilian film has never been better. Still, it risks being obliterated. This contradiction is the starting point for Göteborg Film Festival’s Brazilian focus during the 2020 festival.
During the 43rd edition of Göteborg Film Festival, Brazil will be in the spotlight. It will be both a tribute to the Brazilian film art and a manifestation of solidarity for the Brazilian filmmakers who are currently put under a huge political press.
”It’s a dramatic cultural war going on in Brazil right now, with Jair Bolsonaro as the protagonist and the film as the primary arena. The fact that we focus on Brazilian film is both a solidarity act with the Brazilian filmmakers and a tribute to one of the world’s most fascinating film cultures”, says Jonas Holmberg, artistic director of Göteborg Film Festival.
Since the ‘cinema novo’ of the 60s, Brazilian film has never been as successful as it is right now. In 1992, three films were made in Brazil, in 2019 more than 300 films were released. New groups have been given the opportunity to make films and social, ethnic and sexual minorities have been given cinematic interest in a whole new way. Among other things, the film Bacurau, Kleber Mendonça Filhos and Juliano Dornelle’s allegorical neo-western, have set audience records at the Brazilian cinemas. Because the film has become so much debated, it has become an act of resistance to buy a movie ticket.
Besides Bacurau, Göteborg Film Festival will, within the Brazilian focus, present about fifteen other good, engaging and contemporary films from Brazil. We will see how high prices lead to school occupations in the activist documentary Your Turn and we will meet Luana Muniz, one of Brazil’s, and history’s most influential transsexual activists in Queen of Lapa, just to mention two of them.
Click here for Göteborg Film Festival’s artistic director Jonas Holmberg’s text on Brazil, Brazilian film politics and why it is extra important to lift the Brazilian film this year.
Have a look below at five of the films included in Focus: Brazil. Additional titles will be presented upon release of the program on January 7.
Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles
Paranoid revenge western in the idyllic sleepy village of Bacurau as villagers gather against the mayor and foreign murderers led by a despotic Udo Kier. Like the god-forsaken village of Macondo in the epos of Gabriel Garcia Marqués One hundred years of solitude, Bacurau is located in the Brazilian outpost, deep in northeastern Sertão. Here Teresa returns to go to the funeral of her grandmother, the village matriarch. A village that holds everything from love, jealousy and wonderful beauty to murderous revenge.
It starts with the price of bus tickets being more expensive. Then, when the governor wants to close a large number of schools because of a “reorganization”, the students finally get enough. They take matters into their own hands and occupy over 200 schools with demands for good education for everyone. The activists take control not only of their own situation, but also of this film. They bring the story forward by showing, with their own pictures, what they are fighting for and why.
45-year-old Justino works as a security guard in the port and is torn between life in the big city of Manaus and the village where he grew up as one of the Desana people, an indigenous population of the Amazon. He lives with his daughter, and as soon as she decides to study medicine in the capital Brazil, Justino develops a strange fever. No doctor understands the causes of the fever, and together with Justino, documentary filmmaker Maya Da-Rin’s first feature film slides into a dreamlike state.
Tati’s father Jaca is released from a 13-year prison sentence. Before he went to jail, Jaca was king over the favela and there are high hopes that he will regain his title and make things better. But Jaca is tired of war. For Tati, it’s about getting to know a dad she has never met. The American director Paxton Winter has developed the script over a 7 year long collaboration with the neighborhood community, something that clearly shows in the warmness and the non-judgmental look of all the characters.
Theodore Collatos & Carolina Monnerat
An intimate, captivating and daring portrait of one of Brazil’s, and history’s, most influential transsexual activists. The artist, activist and sex worker Luana Muniz. For about 20 years, Luana Muniz has run a house in the middle of Lapa in central Rio de Janeiro where she takes care of other trans women prostitutes who arrive in Rio to work as a sex worker. Queen of Lapa is a powerful tribute to a community that constantly has to fight for its life.