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MUBI Special

This summer, MUBI is excited to host a new series dedicated to the best of contemporary Brazilian cinema. Filmmaking in Brazil has undergone many disparate phases, from the French New Wave influenced Cinema Novo—a movement for whom film aesthetics were a political act—to the São Paulo-born underground cinemas of the late 1960s, and all the way through to more recent (Oscar favorites!) Central Station and City of God. In the wake of the country’s modern-day political turmoil, Brazil’s filmmakers have recently been producing strikingly poignant, urgent cinema. With the aim of reflecting the eclectic nature of this recent upsurge, our selection embraces both the world of fiction and of documentary, from up-and-coming voices as well as established masters. Whether through the hypnotic clash between the indigenous and urbanized world as portrayed in The Dead and the Others, the genre-twisting nature of Good Manners, or Landless’ intimate observations of local political activism, these are all works that demonstrate how bold and tactful world cinema can be, remaining conscious of its own past yet still forward-looking.

Indianara

Aude Chevalier-Beaumel, Marcelo Barbosa Brazil, 2019

The invincible nature of modern-day LGBT+ communities is at the heart of this powerful observational doc. Filmed guerrilla-style in the run-up to the election of Brazil’s current president Jair Bolsonaro, Indianara raises urgent questions about the imminent future of those living in the margins.

The Blue Flower of Novalis

Gustavo Vinagre, Rodrigo Carneiro Brazil, 2019

How best to describe the seductive figure of this visceral, vérité portrait? Like the film itself, the audaciously bawdy queer poet Marcelo Diorio is full of provocation, tackling the boldest, most taboo of topics—like sex, incest, and death—with his wildly explicit sense of humor. The cheek of it!

Seven Years in May

Affonso Uchoa Brazil, 2019

Affonso Uchôa’s follow-up to the great Araby, which he co-directed, is a fierce indictment of police violence. His new film catches up with a displaced victim and listens to his story—a lived, personal experience—with profound compassion. A devastating finale evokes resistance in the face of death.

Seduction of the Flesh

Júlio Bressane Brazil, 2018

Júlio Bressane is a major figure of Brazil’s underground Cinema Marginal, a radical movement that developed in opposition to Cinema Novo. His recent work is an eloquent, eccentric riddle: a woman’s one-way conversation with a parrot that acts as a reflection between memory and prophecy.

The Fever

Maya Da-Rin Brazil, 2019

While making documentaries in the Amazon, Maya Da-Rin developed, over six years, the idea for this film. Indigenous people’s lives and beliefs are conveyed rather than exposed in this moving, hypnotic work about a father and his soon-departing daughter. Winner of the Best Actor Award at Locarno!

Once There Was Brasilia

Adirley Queirós Brazil, 2017

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.

Landless

Camila Freitas Brazil, 2019

This visually striking film follows a group of agricultural activists fighting for protection of the land and dreaming up utopian solutions. Camila Freitas’s captivating study of land rights and the resilience of hope feels energetically supercharged by Brazil’s perilous politics of today.

Good Manners

Marco Dutra, Juliana Rojas Brazil, 2017

Springing from an urban legend, this ferociously inventive Brazilian “creature feature” combines sharp social observation and lesbian desire with unsettling fantasy elements. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Locarno, Good Manners is a visually exciting and boundary-pushing gem of genre cinema.

Breakwater

Cris Lyra Brazil, 2019

In this collectively made short, Cris Lyra’s intimate gaze records, with minute attention, the bodies and voices of a group of friends as they talk about sexual identity and politics in today’s Brazil. This is affective lesbian cinema, in the vein of Barbara Hammer, where caring and community reign.

Let It Burn

Maíra Bühler Brazil, 2019

This tender portrait of drug users residing in a hostel-turned-social housing project is a tough yet hopeful act of cinematic communion. Deeply devoted to its subjects, but also providing space to bring them closer to each other, Let It Burn absorbs great emotion, culminating in musical release.

The Dead and the Others

João Salaviza, Renée Nader Messora Brazil, 2018

Our new series on the best of contemporary Brazilian cinema starts off with an immersive, refreshing ethnographic docudrama. Touching on the crucial yet often disorienting chapter of young adolescence, this hypnotic prize-winner offers a sensory outsider’s look at the urbanized world we live in.

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