Brazilian Petra Costa’s Oscar-nominated documentary “The Edge of Democracy” is getting the sincerest form of flattery this Christmas: a parody.
The wildly popular Brazilian comedy troupe, Porta dos Fundos, has decided to make its upcoming annual Christmas Special a satirical take on Costa’s chilling documentary about Brazil’s slide into far-right politics, calling it “The Edge of Theocracy.” And Costa has gleefully agreed to participate in it.
In a behind-the-scenes picture shared exclusively with Variety, Costa is shooting her segment in the 2020 Christmas Special with cameraman Murilo Salazar, and Fabio Porchat, who plays Jesus Christ, is pictured in the laptop held by Salazar. Porchat, a founding partner of Porta dos Fundos, also penned the screenplay. Rodrigo Van Der Put (“The First Temptation of Christ,” “The Last Hangover”), directed the special.
“We had the idea of making a parody of ‘The Edge of Democracy’ to address the political polarization that’s happening in Brazil and all over the world,” said Porchat.
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“If everyone is talking about political positions today, why not explore the subject in Jesus Christ’s days, too?” he mused.
“For years I have been an admirer of the work of Porta dos Fundos,” said Costa, adding: “They do what comedy does at its best, use humor to inspire critical thought and question dogmas.”
“This is particularly essential in Brazil today as we see a wave of hate and intolerance growing. I was happy to participate,” she added.
Porta dos Fundos Christmas specials on their dedicated YouTube channel are renowned for their satirical, irreverent take on the life of Christ. 2018’s special, “The Last Hangover,” won an Intl. Emmy for best comedy.
Last year’s special, “The First Temptation of Christ,” featured a gay Christ, setting off a firestorm of complaints. Even though previous Christmas specials – this was their sixth – were just as provocative, and Jesus emerges as a hero, saving the day in the special, the Netflix original sparked a Molotov cocktail attack on their headquarters, which caused a fire that was fortunately put out by security guards.
The petrol bomb attack came after a petition calling on authorities to ban the special had collected more than two million signatures.
In a statement issued after the Dec. 24 attack, the comedy troupe had declared: “Porta dos Fundos would like to reinforce our commitment to good humor and declare that we will move on stronger, more united, inspired, and confident that Brazil will survive this storm of hatred, and love will prevail along with freedom of speech.”