Brazil’s cinema industry is intensely underestimated even among its own population and it should not be, since many amazing movies and filmmakers come from Brazilian territory. Regardless of it not being as popular as it should be, there are some movies that are well-known and loved across the country and even internationally in many different genres, as you will see below.
Bacurau, directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles tells the story of the eponymous city in the countryside of Northeast Brazil. One day, the place mysteriously disappears from the map and some strange things begin to happen nearby, which makes the population suspicious. Having a strong political and anti-imperialist plot, the film has won many prizes nationally and internationally (including Cannes) and was one of, the ex-president of the United States, Barack Obama’s favorite movies in 2020 (although, Bacurau brings critique to USA’s imperialism).
The Way He Looks
The Way He Looks (or “Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho”, in Portuguese) is a coming-of-age movie, so if you like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “Lady Bird”, you will probably like this too. The protagonist, Leo, is a blind teenager who has only Giovana as his friend, until the arrival of Gabriel, the new boy in their class. Because of his disability, Leo’s parents end up being too protective, so he seeks to be more independent, while experiencing love for the first time as well as the expectations of adulthood.
My Mom is a Character
Minha Mãe é Uma Peça, in its original title, is a well-known comedy trilogy that tells the story of Hermínia, a hilarious divorced mother who always deals with her children’s problems in the funniest way possible, however her scandalous behavior is not well received by her son and daughter. She is loud and does not take nonsense from anybody, which will make for a good laugh for the watcher. Even though it wasn’t a movie that brought big numbers of watchers to the movie theater (just a little over 9 million viewers), the third film of the franchise hit Brazil’s box office record, as its predecessor, proving itself as an enormous success.
Tropa de Elite
Elite Squad is a 2007 film and winner of multiple awards such as the Berlin International Film Festival’s Golden Bear. The film follows a member of the BOPE (Special Operations Battalion) named Captain Nascimento (played by Wagner Moura, well-known internationally for his role as Pablo Escobar in Netflix’s Narcos) trying to find new substitutes for him in the Rio de Janeiro’s police, divided by his career and his family. He then meets Matias, an intelligent man studying at Law School while working as a cop, and Neto, a police officer that Nascimento considers to be “too sentimental”, both being very important to the plot. Tropa de Elite can be quite shocking in showing violence in the favelas, drug trafficking, corruption and police brutality.
City of God
Probably the most worldwide-famous Brazilian movie, City of God was directed by Fernando Meirelles (who was also responsible for the 2019’s film ‘Two Popes’) and co-directed by Kátia Lund. It is the only film from Brazil to be nominated four times for Academy Awards, including the Best Film category. Cidade de Deus is based on some real events and it is situated in Rio de Janeiro’s neighborhood of the same name, which was considered one of the most dangerous in the city for a long time. The film shows the transition of the place into a newly formed favela from somewhere dominated by drug trafficking, being narrated by Buscapé, a young man raised there. Having an incredibly talented cast and multiple iconic lines, City of God proves that its recognition is well-deserved.