Below you’ll find the best Brazilian films list online, referencing over 200 films
(…and I’ve seen them all).
- Green (great). Black (good/good enough). Blue (almost bad). Red (bad).
- Check the comments for a list of films set in Rio de Janeiro.
- Clicking movie covers takes you to their IMDB page (scores are below).
- Some films include multiple categories, though I tried to simplify.
————— ACTION/ADVENTURE —————
BESOURO (The Assailant)
2009, João Daniel Tikhomiroff, 5.6
Based on the life of a legendary capoeira fighter from Bahia, “Besouro” spins a tale of a young Brazilian man of African descent in search of his mission.
CAPITÃES DA AREIA
(Captains of the Sands)
2011, Cecília Amado, Guy Gonçalves, 6.1
About the life and adventures of a gang of abandoned street kids known as “Capitães da Areia” (Captains of the Sands), in Salvador, Bahia, during the 1950s.
————— ACTION/COMEDY —————
O HOMEM DO ANO
(The Man of the Year)
2003, José Henrique Fonseca, 7.2
Maiquel has lost a bet and the little event triggers a head-on collision with destiny in which Maiquel goes from nobody to hero to outlaw–all in 24 hours.
————— ACTION/DRAMA —————
2 COELHOS (Two Rabbits)
2012, Afonso Poyart, 7.3
The story accompanies Edgar, a man in crisis, who uses technology, counter-intelligence and a little luck in an attempt to kill two rabbits with one stone: the State and criminals.
O CANGACEIRO (‘The Bandit’)
1953, Lima Barreto, 6.9
Brazilian movie about a famous Cangaceiro (bandit) Teodoro who falls in love with a small town school teacher who his gang has kidnapped.
O QUE É ISSO, COMPANHEIRO?
(Four Days in September)
1997, Bruno Barreto, 7.2
Fernando and his friend César join terrorist group MR8 and kidnap the American ambassador in Brazil. True story.
NETTO PERDE SUA ALMA
(‘Netto Loses His Soul’)
2001, Tabajara Ruas, Beto Souza, 6.9
The story of general Antônio de Souza Netto, officer who took part in two great Brazilian battles, in the 19th Century: the Farroupilha Revolution and the Paraguai War.
TROPA DE ELITE (Elite Squad)
2007, José Padilha, 8.0
Captain Nascimento has to find a substitute for his occupation while trying to take down drug dealers and criminals before the Pope comes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
TROPA DE ELITE 2
(Elite Squad: The Enemy Within)
2010, José Padilha, 8.1
After a disastrous special forces operation on a prison riot, a maturing Lt Col. Nascimento gets caught in a bloody political dispute that involves not only the Public Safety Department, the State governor and State Military Police, but also paramilitary groups .
————— ADVENTURE/COMEDY —————
O AUTO DA COMPADECIDA
(A Dog’s Will)
2002, Guel Arraes, 8.1
The lively João Grilo and the sly Chicó are poor guys living in the hinterland who cheat a bunch of people in a small Northeast Brazil town. (Different kind of humor. Considered a ‘classic’ film in Brazil).
2010, Beatriz Seigner, 6.1
Three Brazilian actresses decide to go to Índia to break into the Bollywood film industry.
DEUS É BRASILEIRO (God is Brazilian)
2003, Carlos Diegues, 5.9
God is getting tired. So he looks for a saint to take his place for a while.
MEU TIO MATOU UM CARA
(‘My Uncle Killed a Guy’)
2004, Jorge Furtado, 6.8
A boy tries to help his uncle, guilty of a murder case, to prove his innocence. He thinks the uncle has confessed the crime as a cover-up for his girlfriend, who was the wife of the dead man.
————— BIOGRAPHY —————
CAZUZA – O TEMPO NÃO PÁRA
(‘Cazuza – Time Doesn’t Stop’)
2004, Walter Carvalho, Sandra Werneck, 7.0
The life and times of Cazuza, Brazilian singer/poet, from his start with rock group “Barão Vermelho”, to his death from Aids, in 1990.
2010, Daniel Filho, 6.7
A biography of famous spiritual medium and author Francisco Candido Xavier.
————— BIOGRAPHY/DRAMA —————
2005, Paulo Benti, Clovis Bueno, 7.0
About the life of João de Camargo, a former black slave who, in his old age, works miracles and devotes himself to assisting others in order to attain his freedom.
DOIS FILHOS DE FRANCISCO
(‘Two Sons of Francisco’)
2005, Breno Silveira, 7.0
The story of Francisco, a very simple and poor man whose dream was to see his children become country music stars, and who made all the efforts to make it happen.
2009, Henrique Goldman, 6.5
The tragic true story of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian shot dead by British police in 2005 at the height of the London terrorist alerts.
LULA: O FILHO DO BRASIL
2009, Fábio Barreto, Marcelo Santiago, 5.5
The true story of a working class boy who moves to the nation’s financial capital at a young age and becomes one the most influential politician in Brazil’s history.
2002, Karim Ainouz, 6.9
Loose portrait of João Francisco dos Santos, also known as Madame Satã, a sometime chef, transvestite, lover, father, hero and convict from Rio de Janeiro.
2004, Jayme Monjardim, 6.3
Based upon the true story of Olga Benário, the German-born wife of Brazilian communist leader Luís Carlos Prestes.
————— COMEDY —————
O CHEIRO DO RALO (Drained)
2006, Heitor Dhalia, 7.3
A pawn shop proprietor buys used goods from desperate locals–as much to play perverse power games as for his own livelihood, but when the perfect rump and a backed-up toilet enter his life, he loses all control.
2011, José Alvarenga Jr, 5.4
Exposed by his girlfriend through a video on the Internet, Bruno tries to revive his reputation, but all he can do is get into a series of traps.
2012, Halder Gomes, 6.9
The arrival of television in the countryside of Brazil puts small movie theaters in jeopardy, and Francisgleydisson just arrived to open one.
O DIABO A QUATRO
(Four for None)
2004, Alice de Andrade, 6.5
Four people with different values and standards meet in the urban chaos of Copacabana. Rita and Waldick come from the country, and befriend two Rio de Janeiro native guys, upon arrival: a playboy surfer and a pimp.
DONA FLOR E SEUS DOIS MARIDOS
(Dona Flor & Her Two Husbands)
1976, Bruno Barreto, 6.9
Dona Flor is married to Mr Wrong, but she loves him and overlooks his short comings and takes care of him. After his untimely death, she marries Mr. Right who adores and cares for her. Yet, the spark Mr. Wrong ignited within her is missing. That is until the ghost of Mr. Wrong comes back.
O HOMEM DO FUTURO
(The Man from the Future)
2011, Cláudio Torres, 7.0
Zero is a brilliant scientist that, using one of his own inventions, gets a chance to travel back in time and change his past.
OS NORMAIS (‘Regular Folk’)
2003, José Alvarenga Jr., 6.9
About the day when Rui and Vani first met. Vani was going to marry Sérgio, and Rui would marry Marta in the same church, following Vani’s marriage. While waiting for the ceremony, they begin to talk. Complications ensue.
OS NORMAIS 2 (‘Regular Folk 2’)
2009, José Alvarenga Jr., 5.8
After thirteen years of engagement, the boring sex life of Rui and Vani is limited to once every other week. They decide to seek excitement with a threesome and they decide to invite Vani’s cousin Silvinha to participate late night, but an accident interrupts their game.
O PALHAÇO (The Clown)
2011, Selton Mello, 7.3
Father and son work as clowns in a circus in the Brazilian countryside. Benjamin decides to follow a different path and meets a few people on the way.
2007, Jorge Furtado, 7.2
A small community of descendants of Italian immigrants in the interior of the state of Rio Grande do Sul resorts to making a video to try to solve the problems of basic sanitation that plague their village.
2006, 300ML, 6.8
Two friends at a bar talking about theories involving Quentin Tarantino’s movies. Short-film.
————— COMEDY/DRAMA —————
COPACABANA ME ENGANA
(‘Copacabana Deceives Me’)
1968, Antonio Carlos de Fontoura, 7.6
Marquinhos is in his early 20s and lives in Copacabana with his petits bourgeois parents and older brother. He meets Irene, a 40 year-old woman and they have a love affair that is going to change his life – for a while.
DOCES PODERES (Sweet Powers)
1997, Lúcia Murat, 6.8
A journalist is placed upon the management of a large broadcasting company to the capital of Brazil at the time of local elections. She must now face ideological and ethical questions, brought back by a left-wing former boyfriend and her own colleagues.
EU, TU, ELES (Me, You, Them)
2000, Andrucha Waddington, 6.8
A true story that comically depicts the relationship between an ordinary woman and her three husbands, who live in the same house in a poor and arid small village of the Brazilian northeast.
O HOMEM DO FUTURO
(The Man from the Future)
2011, Cláudio Torres, 7.1
A scientist has the chance to travel to the past to change his future and love life.
O HOMEM QUE COPIAVA
(The Man who Copied)
2003, Jorge Furtado, 7.8
André, relatively poor, falls in love with Silvia and begins to follow her around the city. He works in a xerox place and makes a copy of a brand new 50 real bill in order to buy a dress from her store. This becomes a vice and he begins to photocopy more and more money, until it gets out of control.
MATOU A FAMÍLIA E FOI AO CINEMA
(Killed the Family and Went to the Movies)
1991, Neville de Almeida, 5.5
In Rio de Janeiro, after an altercation with his father and mother, a young man named Bebeto kills his family and goes to a movie theater, where he watches four weird vignettes. The film then makes the viewer watch the vignettes.
2001, André Klotzel, 7.1
Free adaptation of Machado de Assis’s classic. The narrator is a rich dead man, who tells us about his life and times, making fun of both.
ORFEU NEGRO (Black Orpheus)
1957, Marcel Camus, 7.4
A retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, set during the time of the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.
TIETA DO AGRESTE (Tieta)
1996, Carlos Diegues, 6.8
Just when her family starts believing that she is dead, and that they can expect a rich heritage, Tieta returns from São Paulo to her native village in Bahia. Believed to be fabulously rich – and nobody knows how – she brings to the great disappointment of her family a young step-daughter and heir.
————— COMEDY/ROMANCE —————
2001, Bruno Barreto, 6.4
A fun and light hearted film about the romantic involvements of an ensemble of diverse but interconnected characters including one relationship hatched over the Internet.
A DONA DA HISTÓRIA
(Owner of the Story)
2004, Daniel Filho, 6.6
About a 50 year-old woman who pictures herself when she was 20 years old and re-creates the story of her life through a game of innumerous possibilities…In the plot the present talks to the past. A young woman projects her future in a fascinating game between memories and desires.
GABRIELA, CRAVO E CANELA (Gabriela)
1983, Bruno Barreto, 6.3
In 1925, Gabriela becomes cook, mistress, and then wife of Nacib, a bar owner in a small Brazilian coastal town run by the local colonels. Nacib becomes tired of Gabriela’s uneducated ways, and annuls the marriage when he finds her in bed with his friend Tonico.
HISTÓRIAS DE AMOR DURAM APENAS 90 MINUTOS
(Love Stories Only Last 90 minutes)
2009, Paulo Halm, 6.6
In Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, the idle aspirant writer Zeca has been living with Júlia for five years. When Júlia travels to São Paulo for work, Zeca has an affair with her best friend. So begins his complicated life.
LISBELA E O PRISIONEIRO
(Lisbela and the Prisoner)
2003, Guel Arraes, 7.3
Leléu is a con man who travels through small Brazilian towns, scamming the people and sleeping with the townswomen. When he makes the mistake of sleeping with the wife of a hit man’s and is caught, Leléu barely gets away with his life. Quickly, he moves on to another town, where he meets and falls in love with Lisbela.
————— CRIME/COMEDY —————
O XANGÔ DE BAKER STREET
(The Xango from Baker Street)
2001, Miguel Faria Jr., 6.9
Rio de Janeiro, 1886. Actress Sarah Bernhardt performs at the city’s Municipal Theater, captivating the local audience enthralled by French culture. When a Stradivarius violin owned by Dom Pedro II disappears, Bernhardt invites Shelock Holmes and Dr. Watson to Brazil in order to unravel the mystery.
————— CRIME/DRAMA —————
400 CONTRA 1 (‘400 Against 1’)
2010, Caco Souza, 5.0
About the early days of the biggest criminal organization in Brazil, the “Comando Vermelho” (Red command).
ACHADOS E PERDIDOS (Lost & Found)
2005, José Joffily, 6.7
Ex-cop is involved in the death of his lover, a prostitute who works in the streets of Copacabana. Meanwhile, he is blackmailed by an old friend and gets seriously involved with another prostitute.
O ASSALTO AO TREM PAGADOR
(Assault on the Pay Train)
1962, Roberto Farias, 7.7
True events in Rio de Janeiro, in 1960, when a gang having the infamous outlaw Tião Medonho as a leader performed a sensational railroad hold-up on a train carrying a small fortune.
2003, Hector Babenco, 7.5
Film based on real life experiences of doctor Drauzio Varella inside dreadful state penitentiary Carandiru, in São Paulo, Brazil, while he was doing a social work of Aids prevention.
CIDADE DE DEUS (City of God)
2002, Fernando Mierelles, Kátia Lund, 8.7
Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.
CIDADE DOS HOMENS (City of Men)
2007, Paulo Morelli, 7.2
Best buddies Acerola and Laranjinha, about to turn 18, discover things about their missing fathers’ pasts which will shatter their solid friendship, in the middle of a war between rival drug gangs from Rio’s favelas.
CONTRA TODOS (Up Against Them All)
2003, Roberto Moreira, 6.9
A story about the lies, treachery and vengeance of a middle-class family living on the outskirts of São Paulo. Four characters try desperately to change their lives, but are unable to escape their destiny.
2000, Sergio Bianchi, 7.0
Dissection of Brazilian problems, using six people who meet in a restaurant in São Paulo as models to illustrate political and sociological theses.
DEUS E O DIABO NA TERRA DO SOL
(Black God, White Devil)
1964, Glauber Rocha, 7.3
Antonio das Mortes witnesses the descent of common rural worker Manuel into a life of crime, joining the gang of Antonio’s sworn enemy, Corisco the Blond Devil, and the Pedra Bonita Massacre. Said to be a masterpiece, but I just didn’t see that.
MEU NOME NÃO É JOHNNY
(My Name Ain’t Johnny)
2008, Mauro Lima, 7.2
The true story of João Guilherme Estrella (“Johnny”), a young middle-class bon vivant who became a big-time cocaine dealer in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1990s.
PIXOTE – A LEI DO MAIS FRACO (Pixote)
1981, Hector Babenco, 7.8
The life of a boy in the streets of São Paulo, involved with small crimes, prostitution, etc.
ÚLTIMA PARADA 174 (Last Stop 174)
2008, Bruno Barreto, 7.0
A chronicle of a real-life bus hijacking in Rio de Janeiro that occurred on June 12, 2000.
————— DOCUMENTARY —————
1,99 – UM SUPERMERCADO QUE VENDE PALAVRAS
(‘1.99 – A Supermarket that Sells Words’)
2003, Marcelo Masagão, 5.2
Different Costumers shop in a Supermarket that sells Words and Ideas.
45 ANOS DE PROPAGANDA NA TV BRASILEIRA
(’45 Years of Ads on Brazilian TV’)
ALÉM DO CIDADÃO KANE
(Beyond Citizen Kane)
1993, Simon Hartog, 8.5
The influence of Rede Globo, Brazil’s largest TV network, on a whole country.
2011, Marcelo Reis, —
Seven women, recycling pioneers from the sixties, talk about the seemingly unavoidable fate of waste.
BOCA DO LIXO (‘Mouth of Trash’)
1990, Roberto Talma, 8.4
The daily routine of poor people of Itaoca, São Gonçalo, state of Rio de Janeiro, who make a living out of recycling garbage.
2007, Luis Carlos de Alencar, 8.7
About transvestites who transform their bodies by way of ‘professionals’ known as ‘bombadeiras’.
(The Sound of Rio: Brasileirinho)
2005, Mika Kaurismäki, 7.0
A musical documentary and tribute about “choro”, an older style of playing that forms the foundation of all Brazilian composition, including samba and bossa nova.
BRASIL: UMA HISTÓRIA INCONVENIENTE
(‘Brazil: An Inconvenient History’)
2000, Phil Grabsky
About how Portugal was responsible for the largest forced immigration in human history. Bringing, from Angola to Brazil, over 10 times the number of slaves that were brought to North America.
2012, Cadu Barcelos, Rodrigo Felha, etc
The views of four young filmmakers from Rio’s favelas, post-pacification.
COMPLEXO: UNIVERSO PARALELO
(Complexo: Parallel Universe)
2011, Mário Patrocínio, 6.4
How is it to survive in the most dangerous slum in Rio de Janeiro?
2008, Fernando Grostein Andrade, 6.8
An enjoyable journey in search of answers to a series of questions that reveal Caetano in unprecedented intimacy.
CRIANÇA: A ALMA DO NEGÓCIO
2009, Estela Renner
About how the consumer society and the mass media impact the development of children.
A look at Downs Syndrome in Brazil showing how the parents cope and how their children can lead rather normal lives.
2001, Fernando Mierelles, Nando Orival, 6.9
Five maids in São Paulo are observed in this episodic, impressionistic film. The women interact with each other, ride busses, work, and have longings.
2002, Eduardo Coutinho, 8.2
The daily lives and routine of 37 families living in a huge 12-story building in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro: their drama, aspirations, intimate revelations, loneliness, dreams…
2012, Petra Costa, 6.7
Elena, a young Brazilian woman, travels to New York with the same dream as her mother, to become a movie actress. She also leaves Petra, her seven year old sister. Two decades later, Petra also becomes an actress and goes to New York in search of Elena.
2004, Marcos Prado, 8.2
About Estamira, a schizophrenic, but very charismatic leader of a small community of old people living off garbage.
EU MAIOR (Higher Self)
2013, Fernando & Paulo Schultz, 7.4
Interviews with thirty individuals, including spiritual leaders, intellectuals, artists and professional athletes, on self-knowledge and the pursuit of happiness.
FAIXA DE AREIA (‘Strip of Sand’)
2007, Flávia Lins e Silva, Daniela Kailman
‘Faixa de areia’ synthesizes the plurality and complexity of the range of social classes that share the same beaches.
2003, Guilherme Coelho, 7.0
About three rappers living in the North part of Rio de Janeiro, in poor neighborhoods: their lives and dreams.
FALCÃO – MENINOS DO TRAFICO
(‘Lookout – Boys from the Trade’)
2006, MV Bill
Filmed between 1998 and 2006, it presents the life of young favela dwellers who work with drug trafficking.
FAVELA BOLADA (Favela On Blast)
2008, Leandro HBL, Wesly Pentz, 7.4
About the denominated “Funk” movement in the lower class Brazilian neighborhoods known as favelas. A documentary about music but indirectly it’s a film about the society and violence in those places.
2005, Matt Mochary, Jeff Zimbalist, 7.1
A man emerges from the slums of Rio to lead the nonviolent cultural movement known as Afro-Reggae.
GUIA PRÁTICO, HISTÓRICO E SENTIMENTAL DA CIDADE DO RECIFE
(‘Practical, Historical and Sentimental Guide to the City of Recife’)
2013, Leo Falcão
O HOMEM QUE ENGARRAFAVA NUVENS
(The Man who Bottled Clouds)
2009, Lírio Ferreira, 7.9
Chronicles the life and work of the composer, lawyer, politician, and creator of copyright laws protecting Brazilian artists, Humberto Teixeira.
JANELA DA ALMA
(‘Window to the Soul’)
2001, João Jardim, Walter Carvalho, 8.2
Nineteen people with differing degrees of visual impairment – from mild nearsightedness to total blindness – discuss how they see themselves, how they see others and how they perceive the world.
O FIM E O PRINCÍPIO
(The End and the Beginning)
2005, Eduardo Coutinho, 7.5
A film starting from naught. With no prior research, no characters, no sites, nor specific themes, a film team arrive to the hinterland of Paraíba state in northeastern Brazil in search of people with stories to tell.
A ILHA DAS FLORES
(Island of Flowers)
1989, Jorge Furtado, 8.3
A short film that tracks the path of a tomato from garden to dump with the help of a monotone voiceover and a collection of bizarre images.
JOGO DE CENA (Playing)
2007, Eduardo Coutinho, 8.4
Following a newspaper ad, ordinary women tell part of their life stories to director Eduardo Coutinho, which are then re-enacted by actresses, blurring the barriers between truth, fiction and interpretation.
LÍNGUA: VIDAS EM PORTUGUÊS
(‘Language: Lives in Portuguese’)
2002, Victor Lopes, 7.0
About the Portuguese language, and people who speak it around the world.
LIXO EXTRAORDINÁRIO (Wasteland)
2010, Vik Muniz, 7.7
Top-selling contemporary artist Vik Muniz takes us on an emotional journey from Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, to the heights of international art stardom.
À MARGEM DA IMAGEM
(On the Fringes of São Paulo)
2003, Evaldo Mocarzel, 7.9
About homeless people in São Paulo, discussing themes such as social exclusion, unemployment, alcohol abuse, madness and religiosity.
MANDA BALA (Send a Bullet)
2007, Jason Kohn, 6.9
An examination of corruption and class warfare in Brazil as told through the stories of a wealthy businessman, a plastic surgeon who assists kidnapping victims and a politician whose income relies on a frog farm.
EL MILAGRO DE CANDEAL
(Miracle of Candeal)
2004, Fernando Trueba, 6.6
About cuban pianist Bebo Valdés traveling to Salvador in search of his ancestors’ cultural inheritance. In Spanish and Portuguese.
MORO NO BRASIL (Sound of Brazil)
2002, Mika Kaurismäki, 6.4
The universe of Brazilian music, from traditional Amerindian music in the Northwest to Rio-based samba rhythms and favela funk.
MESTRE BIMBA (‘Master Bimba’)
2005, Luiz Fernando Goulart, 9.0
A biographical documentary of Mestre Bimba, one of the founding fathers of contemporary capoeira.
O MISTÉRIO DO SAMBA
(‘The Mystery of Samba’)
2008, Lula Buarque de Hollanda, Carolina Jabor, 8.0
The everyday life of the members of Velha Guarda da Portela, the legendary group of samba school players that holds the record for the most titles won in the carnival of Rio de Janeiro.
MOTOBOYS: VIDA LOCA
2003, Caito Ortiz, 7.4
The film follows 5 motorcycle couriers working in São Paulo.
MUITO ALÉM DO PESO (‘Way Beyond Weight’)
2012, Estela Renner, —
On child obesity in Brazil.
A NEGAÇÃO DO BRASIL (Denying Brazil)
2000, Joel Zito Araújo, 5.3
A trip in time through the history of the novela and, in particular, how black actors have been represented negatively in them.
2003, João Moreira Salles, 7.7
About Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, and his relationship with music.
NEM GRAVATA, NEM HONRA
(Neither Tie, Nor Honor)
2001, Marcelo Masagão, 8.4
Argues the differences between men and women in the town of Cunha, Brazil.
NOIVAS DO CORDEIRO
(“Brides from Cordeiro”)
2008, Alfredo Alves, —
About a rural, female commune in Minas Gerais.
NÓS QUE AQUI ESTAMOS POR VÓS ESPERAMOS
(Here We Are Waiting for You)
1998, Marcelo Masagão, 8.0
About memories from the 20th century, showing a trip around the world in varying contexts (historical, economical and cultural).
OLHAR ESTRANGEIRO (Foreign Eye)
2006, Lúcia Murat, 7.7
Fantasies and clichés about Brazil and Brazilians as reinforced by international films, even those actually shot in Brazil.
ÔNIBUS 174 (Bus 174)
2002, José Padilha, Felipe Lacerda
What happened in Rio de Janeiro on June 12th 2000, when bus 174 was taken by an armed young man, threatening to shoot all the passengers. Transmitted live on TV.
PALAVRA (EN)CANTADA (‘Enchanted Word’)
2008, Helena Solberg, 7.6
Shows the history of the Brazilian songbook with a special look at the relationship between poetry and music.
PANAIR DO BRASIL
2007, Marco Altberg, 6.7
The story of the most important commercial aviation company in Brazil, between 1930 and 1965, and how it was persecuted and shut down by the military dictatorship.
A PESSOA É PARA O QUE NASCE
(Born to be Blind)
2003, Roberto Berliner, Leonardo Domingues, 7.1
Three blind sisters, Regina, Maria and Conceição, earn their living by singing in front of churches, in Brazil… They tell their amazing stories, full of drama, heartache, rape, poverty, death and hope.
O POVO BRASILEIRO (The Brazilian People)
2000, Iza Ferraz, 8.0
A thoroughly interesting portrait of Brazilian People based on the anthropological work of Darcy Ribeiro.
2006, Gustavo Pizzi, —
Follows former customers and employees of one of the most famous brothels in Brazil called the Casa Rosa as they come back to the house where it once stood in all its glory.
O PRISIONEIRO DA GRADE DE FERRO
(Prisoner of the Iron Bars)
2004, Paulo Sacramento, 7.7
About Carandiru penitentiary, with scenes filmed by the prisoners themselves.
PRO DIA NASCER FELIZ
(‘To Be Born Happy’)
2006, João Jardim, 7.5
Looks at the day-t0-day lives of students and professors at six Brazilian schools.
RECIFE FRIO (Cold Tropics)
2009, Kleber Mendoça Filho, 8.1
In the tropical city of Recife, temperatures drop drastically and its inhabitants have to adapt. Mocumentary.
RIO DE JANO (‘River of Jano’)
2003, Ana Azavedo, Renata Baldi, 6.8
About French cartoonist Jano (Jean le Guay), and his visit to Rio de Janeiro in 2000.
O RISO DOS OUTROS
(‘The Laughter of Others’)
2012, Pedro Arantes, —
About political correctness in stand-up comedy in Brazil.
2010, Asif Kapadia, 8.5
On Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, who won the F1 world championship three times before his death at age 34.
SÓ DEZ POR CENTO É MENTIRA
(‘Only Ten Percent is a Lie’)
2009, Pedro Cezar
An original submersion into the invented biography and fantastic verses of the poet Manoel de Barros.
TOKIORI: DOBRAS DO TEMPO
(Tokiori: Creases in Time)
2011, Paulo Pastorelo
The peak of the Japanese immigration to Brazil happened from 1928 to 1934. Among millions of Japanese who emigrated during this period were six families, the main protagonists of Tokiori.
A musical expedition made by the group A Barca, formed by musicians and researchers of folk traditions, rediscovers traditional Brazilian music.
UM LUGAR AO SOL (High-Rise)
2009, Gabriel Mascaro, 7.2
Through dialogues with the owners of penthouses in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Recife, High-Rise explores the social and cultural mindset of the elite, and the phenomenon of the ‘verticalization’ of the Brazilian cityscape.
VIDA BALLET (Only When I Dance)
2009, Beadi Finzi, 6.5
Two young kids try to dance their way out of the favelas of Rio.
A VIDA EM CANA (‘Life in Cane’)
2002, Jorge Atalla, 7.4
The life of sugarcane cutters in a farm in Jaú, Brazil, and some episodes of their lives.
A VIDA É UM SOPRO
2007, Fabiano Maciel, 7.4
Traces a parellel between the life and work of Oscar Niemeyer and a century of Brazilian history.
VOCAÇÃO DO PODER
(Vocation of Power)
2005, Eduardo Escorel, José Joffily, 6.9
It follows the campaign of 6 candidates to the municipal legislative council of the city of Rio de Janeiro
————— DRAMA —————
ABRIL DEPEDAÇADO (Broken April)
2001, Walter Salles, 7.6
When ordered by his father to avenge the death of his older brother, a young man questions the tradition of violence between two rival families.
Á DERIVA (Adrift)
2009, Heitor Dhalia, 6.7
A 1980s-set drama about a teenage girl undergoing her sexual awakening when she learns about her father’s infidelities.
AMARELO MANGA (Mango Yellow)
2002, Cláudio Assis, 6.3
Short stories revolving around a bar and a hotel in Recife, unveil a mosaic of exotic characters living in the Brazilian underground.
ANJOS DO SOL (Angels of the Sun)
2006, Rudi Lagemann, 7.1
In 2002, 12-year-old Maria, living in dire poverty with her family, is sold by her fisherman father to prostitute recruiter Seu Tadeu, who takes her to a low-class brothel in the Amazon.
O ANO EM QUE MEUS PAÍS SAIRAM DE FÉRIAS
(The Year My Parents Went on Vacation)
2006, Cao Hamburger, 7.3
A boy is left alone in a Jewish neighborhood in the year of 1970, where both world cup and dictatorship happen in Brazil.
ANTES QUE O MUNDO ACABE
(Before the World Ends)
2009, Ana Luiza Azevedo, 7.1
A coming-of-age story about the countryside teenager Daniel, who is facing deception with his best friend, jealousy with his girlfriend and curiosity with his unknown father.
2004, Lírio Ferreira, 6.6
Weatherman from a TV network goes back to his hometown, Vale da Rocha, a place in Northeast Brazil, devastated by the drought. He is forced to face the geographic elements and his own memories.
O BAILE PERFUMADO (Perfumed Ball)
1997, Paulo Caldas, Lírio Ferreira, 7.1
A Lebanese photographer living in Brazil in the ’30s manages to take pictures of Lampião, a legendary Brazilian outlaw, kind of a tropical Robin Hood.
BATISMO DE SANGUE (Blood Baptism)
2006, Helvecio Ratton, 6.9
The true story about the participation and engagement of Dominican friars in the fight against the Brazilian military dictatorship.
À BEIRA DO CAMINHO
(Along the Way)
2012, Breno Silveira, 6.1
To escape past traumas, a truck driver decides to leave his hometown and travel across the country. Alone and lonely he drives all over Brazil until a chance encounter with a little boy makes him face his past.
BICHO DE SETE CABEÇAS
2001, Laís Bodanzky, 7.5
A trip to the mental institution hell. This odyssey is lived by Neto, a middle class teenager, who lives a normal life until his father sends him to a mental institution after finding drugs on his pocket.
(Little Surfer Girl)
2011, Marcus Baldini, 6.1
About a former Brazilian prostitute, based on the book written by herself.
A BUSCA (Father’s Chair)
2012, Luciano Moura, 6.6
A man who has put his career ahead of everything else in life learns the value of family when his son goes missing.
BYE BYE BRAZIL
1980, Carlos Diegues, 7.2
A small band of circus performers drift through the hinterlands of 1970s Brazil looking for opportunity and freedom.
CAFÉ COM LEITE (Coffee with Milk)
2007, Daniel Ribeiro, 7.3
When the plans for the future change, new bonds are created between Danilo, Lucas and Marcos. in between video-games and milk cups, pain and disappointment, they need to learn how to live together. Short-film.
O CAMINHO DAS NUVENS
(The Middle of the World)
2003, Vicente Amorim, 6.7
A man and his family travel by bicycle, from the State of Paraíba to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in search of a job.
CÃO SEM DONO (‘Dog With No Owner’)
2007, Beto Brant, Renato Ciasca, 6.9
In Porto Alegre, the unemployed Ciro has a dull life in a simple apartment with a nameless stray dog that he had found on the streets.
A CASA DE ALICE (Alice’s House)
2007, Chico Teixeira, 7.0
A slice of life of a Brazilian middle-class family.
CASA DE AREIA (House of Sand)
2005, Andrucha Waddington, 7.4
A woman is taken along with her mother in 1910 to a far-away desert by her husband, and after his passing, is forced to spend the next 59 years of her life hopelessly trying to escape it.
CENTRAL DO BRASIL (Central Station)
1998, Walter Salles, 7.9
An emotive journey of a former school teacher, who writes letters for illiterate people, and a young boy, whose mother has just died, in search for the father he never knew.
UM CÉU DE ESTRELAS (A Starry Sky)
1996, Tata Amaral, 7.1
Dalva gets a chance to go to Miami and change her life. While she’s packing, she wonders what she’ll tell her violent husband, who soon arrives home. The whole film takes place in their home.
O CÉU DE SUELY (Love for Sale)
2006, Karim Ainouz, 7.1
In order to get funds, a young woman living in the Northeast of Brazil decides to raffle her own body.
CIDADE BAIXA (Lower City)
2005, Sérgio Machado, 6.6
Lifelong friends Deco and Naldinho, who own a small steaming boat in Bahia, meet strip-dancer Karinna. Both men fall for her and their friendship is deeply shattered.
CINCO VEZES FAVELA
(‘Five Times Favela’)
1962, Miguel Borges, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, etc, 6.8
Five segments about the hardships faced by people living in slums on hills in Rio de Janeiro.
2010, Cacau Amaral, Cadu Barcelos, etc, 6.4
Five segments about the hardships faced by people living in slums on hills in Rio de Janeiro.
CINEMA, APSIRINAS E URUBUS
(Cinema, Aspirins & Vultures)
2005, Marcelo Gomes, 7.1
A road movie about a German man who went to the North East of Brazil in the 1942 to sell Aspirin.
O CONTADOR DAS HISTÓRIAS
(The Story of Me)
2009, Luiz Villaça, 7.1
Based on the life of Roberto Carlos Ramos, is a story about how affection can change reality.
DESERTO FELIZ (Happy Desert)
2007, Paulo Caldas, 6.5
An unhappy country girl moves to the big city, idly hoping for a better life there.
2002, Alain Fresnot, 7.0
The story of Orisbela, a young and religious woman who comes from Portugal to Brazil to marry Francisco de Albuquerque, a rude sugar-cane plantation owner, in 1570.
DOIS PERDIDOS NUMA NOITE SUJA
(Two Lost in a Dirty Night)
2002, José Joffily, 7.0
As Tonho face the reality that he is being pursued by the Immigration Service, Paco ignores reality in favor of focusing on her rapper career.
O ENFERMEIRO (‘The Male Nurse’)
1999, Mauro Farias
A male nurse goes to a small village in Bahia’s countryside. Based on the Machado de Assis short story.
ERA UMA VEZ
(Once Upon a Time in Rio)
2008, Breno Silveira, 7.1
A story of a simple, hard-working poor boy falling in love with a rich girl.
ERA UMA VEZ EU, VERÔNICA
(Once Upon a Time Veronica)
2012, Marcelo Gomes, 6.1
A female doctor tries to make a life for herself in the Brazilian Northeast.
(Estomago: A Gastronomic Story)
2007, Marcos Jorge, 7.5
The story of Raimundo, a destitute Northeast peasant who migrates to São Paulo and discovers that his talent for cooking may guarantee his survival in the big town and open doors to power and sex, but also crime.
EU SEI QUE VOU TE AMAR
(Love Me Forever or Never)
1986, Arnaldo Jabor, 6.5
Young and recently separated couple meet in a modern house and start discussing their past relationship.
FEBRE DO RATO (Rat Fever)
2011, Cláudio Assis, 7.0
Zizo fights a dubious battle against the system, through his self-published newsletter “Febre do rato” and a series of subversive but ineffective street performances.
FELIZ NATAL (December)
2008, Selton Mello, 6.6
Caio is 40 years old and lives in the countryside of Rio de Janeiro, where he owns a scrap-metal yard. On the Christmas Eve he goes to the capital to visit his family and friends.
2011, Clarissa Campolina, Helvécio Marins Jr., 7.0
Deep in the hinterland of Brazil, in the sleepy town of São Romão, Bastú has just lost her husband; the grandchildren and her friend Maria help her to pick up the thread again.
HISTÓRIAS QUE SÓ EXISTEM QUANDO LEMBRADAS
2011, Júlia Murat, 7.0
Life in a quiet village rolls slowly from one day to the next with little excitement — until a young photographer named Rita arrives. Intent on capturing the town on film, Rita forms a profound bond with Madalena, an elderly baker.
A HORA DA ESTRELA
(The Hour of the Star)
1986, Suzana Amaral, 7.1
Macabea is an immigrant orphan from northern Brazil who comes to the city in search of economic prosperity. She lacks the education for a descent job, the social skills for friends or a boyfriend, and the etiquette for a normal life.
2007, Paulo Sérgio de Almeida, 5.1
Laura goes to Buenos Aires and falls for the photographer Guilherme. When she returns to Brazil, her homeland, she discovers Guilherme is actually her fiancé’s best friend.
O INVASOR (The Trespasser)
2002, Beto Brant, 6.9
Two businessmen hire a hitman to kill their third partner and are then blackmailed by the hitman as he takes over their company.
(To the Left of the Father)
2001, Luiz Fernando Carvalho, 7.2
The young son that ran from his dominant family, descends into decadence and then returns to the nest. With melodramatic themes of tyrannical fathers, incest, fierce family conflicts and an overheated and intense visual style to match.
LINHA DE PASSE (‘Line of Passage’)
2008, Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas, 6.9
A story about four brothers from a poor family who need to fight to follow their dreams.
1969, Olney São Paulo, 8.2
A couple is arrested and tortured after taking part in a political demonstration, being sentenced to death.
MAUÁ: O IMPERADOR E O REI
(Mauá: The Emperor and the King)
1999, Sergio Rezende, 6.9
About a Brazilian entrepreneur who rivalled America’s Rockafeller.
MEU PAÍS (My Country)
2011, Andre Ristum, 6.1
A film about the reunion of a family broken by pain and, because of that pain, can be reunited.
2007, Sandra Kogut, 7.1
Thiago lives with his family on an isolated farm in the arid backlands of Mutum, Minas Gerais. As the story unfolds, Thiago is forced to confront separations and betrayal within the home.
NÃO POR ACASO (Not By Chance)
2007, Phillippe Barcinski, 7.1
Three control freaks lose the people they love.
NARRADORES DE JAVÉ (The Storytellers)
2003, Eliane Caffé, 7.1
The illiterate population of the small town of Javé charge Antônio Biá with the mission of writing the story of the town, in an attempt to stop the construction of a hydropower dam that would destroy the village.
2004, Heitor Dhalia, 6.7
Psychological thriller larded with manga-like animations about the young, poor comic strip illustrator Nina, living with her mean landlady. She sinks further and further into a violent fantasy world.
NOME PRÓPRIO (Camila Jam)
2007, Murilo Salles, 6.4
The story of Camila, a young woman intent on becoming a writer.
NOSSO LAR (Astral City)
2010, Wagner De Assis, 5.6
The life of the doctor André Luiz in the spiritual city of Nosso Lar.
OLHOS AZUIS (Blue Eyes)
2009, José Joffily, 7.0
Before his compulsory retirement, Marshall, JFK airport’s chief Immigration officer, detains a group of Latin Americans and ends up causing the death of a young Brazilian. After a period in prison, Marshall goes to Brazil in order to purge his guilt.
OTÁVIO E AS LETRAS
2007, Marcelo Masagão
About Otávio, a solitary man living in São Paulo, who leaves poetic ‘packages’ in public places. Also follows a young photographer who observes her neighbors via her camera.
O PAGADOR DE PROMESSAS
(The Given Word)
1962, Ancelmo Duarte, 8.1
A good but simple Christian dies, trying to keep his vow to Saint Barbara for her to save his donkey.
(Forbidden to Forbid)
2007, Jorge Durán, 7.1
About what it means to be a young college student in a big Brazilian city like Rio de Janeiro in the 2000s and have your dreams and hopes downsized by the stark reality.
QUANTO VALE OU É POR QUILO?
(What is it Worth?)
2005, Sergio Bianchi, 7.1
Shows a parallel between slavery and NGOs in modern Brazil.
QUASE DOIS IRMÃOS (Almost Brothers)
2004, Lúcia Murat, 7.1
The strange friendship between two men of opposite social classes. Miguel is a senator. His childhood friend Jorge is a major drug-dealer.
QUERIDO ESTRANHO (Darling Stranger)
2002, Ricardo Pinto e Silva, 7.1
On Alberto’s birthday, his daughter Zezé gets engaged. But the party turns sour when he decides to expose his pain and regrets.
SAL DE PRATA (‘Silver Salt’)
2005, Carlos Gerbase, 5.6
After her boyfriend’s death, a successful executive finds some unfinished scripts in the dead man’s computer, and decides to make a film of them. Her relationship with the world of movie-making is going to change her life.
O SOM AO REDOR
2012, Kleber Mendoça Filho, 7.7
Life in a middle-class neighborhood in present day Recife, takes an unexpected turn after the arrival of an independent private security firm. The presence of these men brings a sense of safety and a good deal of anxiety to a culture which runs on fear.
2012, Eduardo Nunes, 7.3
In a Brazilian coastal village where everything seems motionless, Clarice grasps her life in a single day, unlike those she meets and who are living this day like any other.
TEMPOS DE PAZ (Peacetime)
2009, Daniel Filho, 7.0
Segismundo is a former political police officer of Getúlio Vargas’ government, who used to torture prisoners. In April 1945, he is the chief of the Inmigration Office in Rio de Janeiro and, therefore, is in charge of preventing the entry of nazis. A Polish man must convince him that he is a victim in order to gain access to the country.
TERRA VERMELHA (Birdwatchers)
2008, Marco Bechis, 6.9
When a tribe of indigenous Guarani Indians attempts to re-inhabit their ancestral land, which lies on the border of a wealthy landowner’s fields, tensions escalate.
TODA NUDEZ SERÁ CASTIGADA
(All Nudity Shall Be Punished)
1973, Arnaldo Jabor, 7.1
Rich, spoiled youngman encounters a prostitute, and gets confused about the nature of his feelings for her; he can’t decide between attraction, and repulsion.
UMA ONDA NO AR
(Something in the Air)
2002, Helvecio Ratton, 6.5
Based on the true story of four friends who decide to install a communal pirate radio station called Rádio Favela in a shanty-town, to give voice to the outcasts’ complaints.
A VIA LÁCTEA (The Milky Way)
2007, Lina Chamie, 5.8
Heitor, a literature professor, meets and falls in love with Julia, a young actress. During the course of the movie we see scenes from their relationship while Heitor drives around the busy streets of Sao Paulo.
VIDAS SECAS (Barren Lives)
1963, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 7.4
A poor family in the Northeast of Brazil wander about the barren land searching for a better life.
2010, Toniko Melo, 6.6
The life of a real conman and one of the biggest frauds in Brazil.
2012, Cao Hamburger, 7.1
The story of three brothers and the exploration, definition and protection of one of the world’s largest indigenous territories.
2006, Sergio Rezende, 6.9
The last years of the famous Brazilian fashion designer in her doomed quest for justice in the case of her activist son Stuart’s arrest, torture, murder and subsequent corpse disposal by the military.
————— DRAMA/ROMANCE —————
CHEGA DE SAUDADE
2007, Laís Bodanzky, 7.0
In an old-time dance hall in São Paulo, one evening is all it takes to meet different characters as they remember the past, live the present, wonder about the future, have fun, flirt, fight and, naturally, dance.
TERRA ESTRANGEIRA (Foreign Land)
1996, Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas, 7.1
After the death of her mother, a young Brazilian decides to leave his country and travel to her native land. In a foreign land, he finds love and danger.
————— DRAMA/WAR —————
GENTE BRAVA BRASILEIRA
(Brave New Land)
2000, Lúcia Murat, 7.0
A young Portuguese cartographer in the 18th century finds new forms of love, war and a wild new world in an expedition into South American heart.
GUERRA DE CANUDOS
(The Battle of Canudos)
1997, Sérgio Rezende, 7.1
The drama of a poor family in the bloodiest war in the History of Brazil: the war of Canudos.
————— HISTORY —————
1995, Carla Camurati, 7.0
A hot blooded Spanish princess plots to conquer her enemies and become queen.
————— ROMANCE —————
O MAIOR AMOR DO MUNDO
(The Greatest Love of All)
2006, Carlos Diegues, 6.7
A Brazilian scientist returns to Brazil after having lived a long time in the US and searches for his identity.