You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Brazilian Films at Berlin Focus on Regional Stories

Extraordinary, but true: Seven of the 10 Brazilian movies selected for this year’s Berlin festival are produced by companies outside Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. They are led by three titles from Pernambuco’s Recife: Desvia Films’ Sundance hit “Divine Love,” Carnaval Filmes’ “Greta” and “Waiting for the Carnival,” also from REC Produtores Associados.

Put that down to a Brazilian government incentive focus on “regionalization” — “training and film financing for all of Brazil,” says Luana Melgaço, at Belo Horizonte’s Anavilhana, which co-produces Argentine Santiago Loza’s “Brief Story from the Green Planet.” Festival play and international co-production have also given Brazil’s regional cinema more visibility, aiding more screening and distribution, she adds.

Some of these movies exalt regional or rural values: Helvecio Marin’s “Homing” is an homage to the downtrodden, often despised rural folk in his native Minas Gerais. Others portray the ambition of “regional” production. “Divine Love” is a step-up in scale and move towards the mainstream for Gabriel Mascaro, lacking the docu-fiction mix of “Neon Bull” and “Autumn Wind,” but still a clear allegorical magnification of trends in contemporary Brazil.

That’s a second arresting aspect of Berlin’s Brazil line-up. All the films were conceived years before Jair Bolsonaro swept to power in October’s general election. The Berlin line-up offered nuanced works of art. In “Waiting for the Carnival,” Marcelo Gomes records on camera, with a bracing honesty, the opinions of Brazilian jeans manufacturers that don’t buy into his viewpoint of them as victims of rampant capitalism. “Divine Love’s” largest sympathies clearly lie with the most devout of its characters, its protagonist.

But some Brazilian filmmakers at Berlin wear their opposition to the regime on their sleeve.

“There are those who think that history needs to be rewritten,” says “Marighella” director Wagner Moura, protesting a “campaign against culture.”

He goes on: “Our film comes at a time when history is being questioned. To launch it now is a kick to the stomach.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Isabela Moner Dora the Explorer

    Film News Roundup: Isabela Merced Boards Jason Momoa's 'Sweet Girl' for Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, Isabela Merced get cast opposite Jason Momoa, “Starbright” gets financing and AFM announces its speakers. CASTING Isabela Merced, formerly Isabela Moner, has come on board to portray the daughter of Jason Momoa in his upcoming revenge thriller “Sweet Girl” for Netflix. Momoa will play a devastated man who vows to [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Seeks to Throw Out Gender Pay Gap Lawsuit

    The Walt Disney Co. is seeking to throw out a lawsuit alleging that women employees are paid less than men, arguing that the suit is too sprawling and unwieldy to handle as a class action. Andrus Anderson LLP filed the suit in April, alleging that Disney’s hiring and pay practices have a discriminatory effect on [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Christian Bale, Matt Damon to Campaign in Lead Actor Category for 'Ford v Ferrari'

    Christian Bale and Matt Damon will both campaign in the lead actor category for awards for their work in Fox’s upcoming “Ford v Ferrari,” Variety has learned. “Ford v Ferrari” follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby (Damon) and his British driver, Ken Miles (Bale), who [...]

  • Tezuka's Barbara film

    Tokyo Film Festival: Makoto Tezuka Probes Past and Present in 'Barbara'

    The son of the late Osamu Tezuka, who is known as the “the god of manga” in Japan for his innovative and enduringly popular comics, Makoto Tezuka (also known as Macoto Tezka) long ago escaped his father’s looming shadow, carving out a career as a film and animation director. At the same time, he has [...]

  • Cuba Gooding Jr

    Cuba Gooding Jr. Sued for Allegedly Pinching Nightclub Server

    A Tao nightclub server who alleges that Cuba Gooding Jr., pinched her rear-end last year has sued the Oscar-winning actor for sexual battery. Natasha Ashworth had previously come forward to New York law enforcement, though her name had not been released publicly. Gooding was indicted last week on four misdemeanor counts, including two counts stemming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content