On June 19th, Brazilian Cinema Day is celebrated, and, despite having recognized titles outside and addressing themes experienced by the Brazilian population, national cinema is still the subject of prejudice. If you’re looking for national films to watch on this date or even think they’re not so good, this article is for you.
Here is a list of five films of different genres that you can’t help but watch. Take the popcorn and enjoy the best of national cinema.
- Bacurau (2019)
Shortly after the death of Dona Carmelita, at the age of 94, the residents of a small village located in the Brazilian backlands, called Bacurau, discover that the community is no longer on any map. Gradually, they realize something strange: while drones stroll through the skies, foreigners arrive in the city for the first time. When cars become victims of gunshots and corpses begin to appear, Teresa, Domingas, Acácio, Plínio, Lunga and other inhabitants come to the conclusion that they’re being attacked. All that remains for them is to identify the enemy and find out an effective way to defend and protect themselves.
Released in 2019 and one of the most commented films of that year, Bacurau promotes a reflection on inequality in Brazil and also the importance of culture and popular memory. One of the directors, Kleber Mendonça Filho, when speaking at the end of the film screening in Cannes, pointed out very well what are the themes that the film seeks to portray: “This is a very important moment in our country. The film is about resistance, education and being Brazilian in the world.”
- Central do Brasil (1998)
The bitter former schoolteacher, Dora, earns money writing letters to illiterate people in Rio de Janeiro who dictate what they want to tell their families. However, she pockets their money without ever mailing the envelopes. One day, Josue, the 9-year-old son of one of her clients, is left alone when his mother is killed in a bus accident. Reluctantly taking him in, Dora joins the boy on a road trip to find his long-missing father.
Released in 1998, Central do Brasil remains considered one of the greatest Brazilian films. Topics such as migration, affection, religion and abandonment appear in the narrative and, during the plot, we perceive how the backland becomes a space of reconciliation and hope.
- Minha mãe é uma peça (2013)
Minha mãe é uma peça is an adaptation of a play that has already taken thousands of people to theaters throughout Brazil. The film follows Hermínia, a middle-aged woman whose main concern is finding something to do. Her children are all grown up and she’s really bored. Without a companion, the grumpy lady spends all her time venting to an elderly aunt, a gossipy neighbor and a confident friend.
The first in a trilogy, this film promotes good laughs to everyone who watches it. There’s an almost unanimous identification of all mothers in Dona Hermínia, whether by speech or gestures.
- Cidade de Deus (2002)
Buscapé is a poor, black and sensitive young man who grows up in an extremely violent universe. He lives in Cidade de Deus, a favela located in Rio de Janeiro known for being one of the most hostile places in the country. Frightened by the possibility of becoming a criminal, Buscapé is saved from his destiny because of his talent as a photographer, which allows him to build a career. It’s through his gaze behind the camera that he analyzes the daily life of the favela in which he lives, where violence appears to be infinite.
Dating back in 2002, Cidade de Deus is considered a film that every Brazilian needs to watch at least once in a life. This is because it’s an honest and accurate portrait of what happens daily in Brazil, characterized by the survival instinct within the favelas and peripheral regions. It’s a film that fascinates, shocks, bothers and ends up being necessary to understand even more which country we live in.
- Tudo bem no natal que vem (2020)
Tudo bem no natal que vem tells the story of Jorge, grumpy man who always hated Christmas and usually does everything to avoid this celebration. On the eve of the holiday, he falls off the roof and hits his head. When Jorge wakes up, he realizes that he’s living Christmas next year, and he starts to relive several Christmas in an endless cycle.
Released by Netflix in 2020, the film has a light, funny and sensitive storyline. Because it’s a Christmas film, there are some reflections about the value we give to people around us and life in general. It’s a film recommendation that can be watched with the family reunited regardless of the time of the year.
We hope this movie selection has inspired you to watch it and, perhaps, made you realize the value of our film industry. After all, it’s only by supporting Brazilian Cinema that our productions can thrive and be more recognized here and abroad.
The article above was edited by Bárbara Vetos.
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