Adding to its notable lineup in Latin American movies, Paris-based sales agent MPM Premium has taken international sales rights to “Fogaréu,” from writer-director Flávia Neves, part of Brazil’s new wave of female filmmakers, which is one of the most exciting developments the country’s cinema currently has going for it.
MPM Premium is introducing the film at this week’s Berlin Festival, where it world premieres in Panorama on Feb. 15.
First glimpsed at 2020’s Ventana Sur project market, “Fogaréu” shares a sense of attitude and a feminist agenda and a visual verve with fellow Brazilian Ventana Sur titles “The Pink Cloud,” Iuli Gerbase’s a sci-fi character-driven thriller, and “The Joy of Things,” Thais Fujinaga’s portrait of motherhood, also playing at the same market.
It begins, for example, with menacing shots of the Klu Klux Klan, marching towards the Brazilian colonial town of Goiás, or so it seems – until a reverse shot reveals they are members of a religious procession, seen from the disparaging point of view of Fernanda, the film’s protagonist.
Fernanda, a modern Brazilian, has returned to Goiás, a traditional colonial town, to scatter her adoptive mother’s ashes. Once in Goiás, however, she peels away layers of family secrecy to discover the truth about her own origins, which says a lot about conservative, rural Brazil.
As she does so, a Brazilian sticks film noir adds layers of magic realism and builds into a lacerating depiction of racism, gender abuse and residual colonialism in provincial Brazil.
“The plot is inspired by the story of my mother, who from childhood worked in conditions similar to slave labor for a rich landowner. For this reason, Fogaréu starts from a point of view quite new in Brazilian cinema: that of the oppressed over the oppressor,” said Neves.
“Based on a true story, Flávia Neves shows an incredible talent in drafting a tense political thriller with touches of fantasy. On top of that, Bárbara Colen offers, like in ‘Bacurau,’ an impressive performance that engages the viewer until the very last minute of the film,” said Quentin Worthington.
“Following Iuli Gerbase’ prescient film ‘The Pink Cloud,’ ‘Fogaréu’ is another great feminist thriller part of a New Wave of Brazilian female filmmakers,” he added.
Neves’ fiction feature debut is produced in Brazil by Vania Catani at Bananeira Filmes, whose international credits include Lucrecia Martel’s “Zama” and Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja,” and two-time International Emmy winner MyMama Entertainment and Caliandra Filmes. Headed by Gabrielle and Mayra Faour Auad, MyMama co-produced with Bananeira Films Anita Rocha da Silveira’s 2021 Directors’ Fortnight hit “Medusa.”
A French-Brazilian coproduction, supported by the CNC’s Aide Aux Cinemas Du Monde, “Fogaréu” is produced out of France by Blue Monday, producer of “Jeune Femme,” winner of the Cannes Festival’s 2017 Camera D’Or for best first feature.
Recent Latin American titles sold by MPM Premium include Brazilian Matías Mariani’s 2020 Panorama standout “Shine Your Eyes,” 2021 Sundance hit “The Pink Cloud” and Paraguayan filmmaker Paz Encina “Eami,” which on Feb. 2 took the top Tiger Award at this year’s IFF Rotterdam Festival.