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5 Brazilian Movies That Pass The Bechdel Test

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Women have historically been represented in supporting or stereotyped roles in the field of cinematography. However, during the 2000s, the significance of narrating stories that capture the range of women’s experiences has come to light.

The Bechdel Test is a straightforward but important metric that emphasizes how women are portrayed in movies. The test, which gained popularity thanks to cartoonist Alison Bechdel, is surprisingly easy. A film needs to address and satisfy three key requirements in order to pass:

  1. Does the movie have two or more named female characters?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. Is the subject of their conversation something other than a man or romance-related topics?

Even with its simplicity, many movies still fail to live up to these fundamental standards, highlighting the continued need in the business for more inclusive storytelling. Several brazilian productions not only meet the Bechdel Test requirements but also honor the depth and nuance of female interactions. See five brazilian films that should be acknowledged for their genuine and inclusive portrayal of women by scrolling down below:

Aquarius (2016)

Under Kleber Mendonça Filho’s direction, Aquarius tells the tale of retired journalist Clara, who rejects a real estate developer’s offer to buy her flat. Sonia Braga brilliantly portrays Clara as she converses with her friends, family, and coworkers. The movie explores issues of memory, nostalgia, and the unwavering spirit of resistance against gentrification through these exchanges.

Movie trailer of Aquarius

The Second Mother (2015)

Que horas ela volta? (Portuguese original title) is a film directed by Anna Muylaert that centers on Val, a live-in cleaner for an affluent family in Sao Paulo. Regina Casé portrays Val in a moving and potent way as she negotiates the challenges of autonomy, motherhood, and class. The exchanges between Val and the audience are the core of the movie.

Central Station (1998)

Directed by Walter Salles, Central do Brasil (original title) narrates the tale of Dora, a former educator who serves as a letter writer for the illiterate at Rio de Janeiro’s Central Station. In the film’s emotional center is Fernanda Montenegro’s portrayal of Dora, a young child on a search for his father, and their adventure together. As she travels, Dora meets different ladies with whom she converses about longing, loss, hope, and redemption.

Bacurau (2019)

Under the direction of Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho, Bacurau is a suspenseful story that takes place in a made-up Brazilian community that disappears from the map. Teresa, a fearless leader of the resistance against outside dangers, is portrayed by Bárbara Colen as having unwavering tenacity and resolve, which serves as the film’s anchor. Themes of resistance, solidarity, and community empowerment emerge from Teresa’s contacts with other women in the hamlet.

Movie trailer of Bacurau

Desmundo (2002)

Directed by Alain Fresnot, Desmundo is set in colonial Brazil and follows the story of Oribela, a young Portuguese orphan forced into marriage. Simone Spoladore’s portrayal of Oribela is hauntingly beautiful as she navigates the harsh realities of her new life while forming bonds with other women in the colony. The film serves as a poignant exploration of female solidarity, survival, and resilience in the face of patriarchal oppression.

Movie trailer of Desmundo

The Bechdel Test proves that each of the five Brazilian films can be a voice for the experiences of Brazilian women on the screen and create a more inclusive cinematographic culture. Additionally, these films become fine examples of how one can portray the experiences of women on the big screen.


The article above was edited by Ana Carolina Micheletti.

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Beatriz Venancio

Casper Libero '26

Completely into world of entertainment I'm an audiovisual student at Cásper Líbero. As a person who likes to know a little about everything, hope you find something you are interrested on my writing journey. (: