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Critics reviews
Once There Was Brasilia
Adirley Queirós Brazil, 2017
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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It is the festival’s exploratory programming that distinguishes it, allowing it to follow nonfiction’s many experimental encounters with contemporary art, expanded cinema, and even sci-fi. One particularly vivid example of this capacious definition of the form was to be found in Adirley Queirós’s third feature Era Uma Vez Brasília (Once There Was Brazilia). . . . Queiró’s film creates a vivid afro (Brazilian)futurist dystopia: Mad Max by way of Pedro Costa and Brother from Another Planet.
December 22, 2017
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Reminiscent of the underground movies directed by the Brazilian maverick Andrea Tonacci during the Seventies, Once There Was Brasilia abjures realism altogether as it appropriates the tropes of Grade-Z science fiction in order to make sense of a contemporary Brazil coping with what many observers consider a de facto right-wing coup. The film assumes that an absurd narrative premise is uniquely designed to delineate the absurd political morass plaguing Brazil.
December 11, 2017
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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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Operating well beyond the modest means of production, Queirós has delivered a spectacular vision of the near-future, with an army of non-actors set forth under a night sky ablaze with violence and the sounds of war echoing on the horizon… Shot in rich nocturnal hues by compatriot and fellow filmmaker Joana Pimenta, Once There Was Brazilia offers a bracing and troubling image of Brazil’s current political climate.
September 01, 2017
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The film uses makeshift future-world production design… to cast this fiercely topical speculation in political assassination, class revolt, and intergalactic intercession as a bare bones sci-fi film that makes John Carpenter’s Dark Star seem like a mega-production. The result may be too dedicated to the audience experiencing repetitious duration of action, but the spirit of the production—a sense of camaraderie, shared anger, creative handicraft and a wry sense of humor—is supremely admirable.
August 09, 2017
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