Brazil’s Davi Pretto on ‘Rifle,’ Brazil’s Rural Diaspora, Doc-Fiction Boundaries

Director is prepping suspense drama ’South’ and horror feature ‘Field Exercise’

In his feature debut, “Castanha,” Davi Pretto won upbeat reactions at Berlin’s Forum for a docu/fiction character study of cabaret-performer João Carlos Castanha, a gay man living with his elderly mom, working as an actor and drag queen hostess in local clubs, and still enraptured by his memories and the music of the early ‘80s gay scene.

Pretto’s sophomore outing “Rifle,” which screens at Ventana Sur’s Copia Cero, world premiered at the 2016 Brasilia Film Festival, where it took best film, a critics prize, screenplay and sound. As a project, it was presented at the San Sebastian Fest’s Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum, Brazil’s BrLab and the Berlinale Talent Project Market.

Produced by Porto Alegre-based Tokyo Filmes in co-production with Germany’s Autentika Films, “Rifle” once more explores fiction/non-fiction boundaries, as well as the personal dilemmas “Castanha”’s main character experienced.

“I’m not sure where exactly is the line between fiction and reality, Pretto said, adding he didn’t adopt any fly-on-the-wall approach to hi subjects. “Basically, I followed classic fiction method to shoot it.”

“Rifle” was shot in Vacaíqua, Southern Brazil, rolling countryside near to the border with Uruguay, using non-professional actors from the region.

Its background is the rampant redistribution of land in rural Brazil as small landowners plots are bought up by big landowners, aiming to move in and plant vast plains of soya and rice.

“The inhabitants of the region play the characters of a story that is not their own –even if it might be– in a narrative somewhere between a road movie, a Western and a suspense movie,” Pretto observed.

He added: “It’s a film about identity in the empty, post-exodus, rural parts of my country, about people who live there and are increasingly forced to take up an urban existence, one of decay. Because of that, it ends up also being a film about violence.”

The Brazilian filmmaker is currently writing two projects: “South,” a period suspense drama set in the 19th century during one of the longest wars in Brazil; and “Field Exercise,” a horror film set against a military context in contemporary Brazil, Pretto told Variety.

More Film


    Brazil’s Ancine Freezes Incentives, Threatening Film-TV Industry Paralysis

    Brazil’s Ancine agency, its foremost public-sector source of film funding, has frozen all of its incentive programs, potentially near paralyzing new production in Latin America’s biggest film-TV industry. The dramatic decision, which has left Brazil’s industry is a state of shock and intense fear for its future, comes as it has taken further hits. In [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Reteams With STXfilms on Romantic-Comedy Co-Starring Owen Wilson

    Jennifer Lopez is reteaming with STXfilms on the upcoming romantic-comedy “Marry Me.” Kat Coiro is directing the film and Owen Wilson is in final negotiations to join the pic, which will likely shoot this fall. The script was written by John Rogers and Tami Sagher, with a rewrite by Harper Dill. Lopez and Wilson both [...]

  • Steve Golin The Revenant Spotlight Producer

    Steve Golin, Prolific Producer and Founder of Anonymous Content, Dies at 64

    Steve Golin, an Oscar-winning producer who was founder and CEO of Anonymous Content, has died of cancer. He was 64. Golin was a pioneer in blending the business of talent management with production. Anonymous Content, which Golin founded in 1999, worked with a stable of big name artists such as Steven Soderbergh, Emma Stone, Edgar [...]

  • Kelly McCormick David Leitch

    'Hobbs & Shaw' Director David Leitch, Kelly McCormick Sign First-Look Deal With Universal (EXCLUSIVE)

    Universal Pictures is signing David Leitch, his longtime producing partner, Kelly McCormick and their recently founded 87North Production banner to a first-look production deal. “David and Kelly have established themselves as a distinctive, stylish filmmaking team who can do it all, from contained thrillers to franchise tentpoles,” said Universal’s president Peter Cramer. “We are confident [...]

  • Still from cannes competition film "Parasite"

    Cannes: Bong Joon-ho Says ‘Parasite’ Is too Local to Win Competition

    Having been partially responsible for the Netflix fall out with the Cannes Film Festival, “Okja” and “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho returns to Cannes competition this year with conventionally- financed “Parasite.” But the Korean-language film is a tragicomedy that Bong says may be too nuanced for the festival. “Cannes always makes me feel excited, fresh, and [...]

  • Summer Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Lion

    Summer Box Office: Five Weekends to Watch

    Popcorn season is upon us, and it’ll be up to comic-book heroes, a wise-cracking genie, and a lion who would be king to ensure movie theaters are still the hottest place to spend the summer. Last summer, blockbusters like “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” Ocean’s 8,” and “The Meg” drove moviegoers to their [...]

  • Critics Week

    Cannes Critics’ Week Unveils Its Lineup

    Lorcan Finnegan’s science-fiction thriller “Vivarium” with Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, Jérémy Clapin’s fantasy-filled animated feature “I Lost My Body,” and Hlynur Pálmason’s Icelandic drama “A White, White Day” are among the 11 films set to compete at Critics’ Week, the section dedicated to first and second films that runs parallel with the Cannes Film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content