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New Brazilian Cinema
210 Ratings

Once There Was Brasilia

Era uma Vez Brasília

Directed by Adirley Queirós
Brazil, Portugal, 2017
New Brazilian Cinema


In 1959, disgraced intergalactic agent WA4 receives a mission: to come to the Earth and kill the president Juscelino Kubitschek on the day of Brasília’s inauguration. But his ship is lost in time and lands in 2016 in Ceilândia—a Black suburb of Brasília—on the verge of Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment.

Our take

Defined by its director as a work of “futurist ethnography,” this gem of Brazilian underground cinema is a dystopian sci-fi at once witty and visually thrilling. Powerfully commenting on modern-day racism, Adirley Queirós’ third film digs into the very heart of both past and present politics.

Once There Was Brasilia Directed by Adirley Queirós Watch now
It’s odd to call a film as consumed by darkness and paranoia as Once There Was Brasilia playful, but Queirós’s approach is sui generis and often thrilling.
November 01, 2018
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With his established penchant for political incorrectness, Queirós remains unsparing about the pitfalls of both right- and left-wing politics (the alien protagonist is offered housing in exchange for his mission, an allusion to former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s popular social policy).
April 26, 2018
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In painting a portrait of Brazilian politics and social turmoil in quite an creative way, Queirós has made one of the most interesting films of the year.
November 13, 2017
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