Premio Netflix – Select a winning film

Netflix needs our help to select the best Brazilian films.

Prêmio Netflix is a platform to celebrate and promote independent Brazilian movies. They´ve selected 10 of these incredible stories and need your help to decide which one should be shared with the entire world.

Votes must be cast by 03/10/2016.

Um prêmio feito para promover o talento nacional e compartilhar histórias brasileiras surpreendentes com o mundo todo. Conheça os dez filmes finalistas e escolha seu favorito.

Source: Premio Netflix



Film Review – Dancing with the Devil (Documentary)

I decided to catch up on my Brazilian films and started off with this highly recommended video, Dancing with the Devil, a documentary on the drug war in Rio de Janeiro. There are lots of similar videos out there, but this one is slightly different because it shows the lives and stories of the member of a drug squad who fights the dealers/gunmen, a pastor and ex-dealer who provides spiritual support, and drug lords, without masks. Rare footage indeed, and almost surreal, especially the scenes of the pastor praying with armed “deputies” of a drug lord.

The lives these people lead make Rambo look like Peter Pan…

The overall message is that these people would have probably thought twice about entering the drug world if they had had more opportunities in life, like quality schooling. It sounds cliché but you almost understand why they enter it and can´t leave. What alse would they do? Who would hire these people? Most of them can´t read or write.

Another interesting fact is that they all mention God almost continuously. One side thinks that God wants them to stay alive to deal drugs, while other thinks that God wants them to catch the dealers. Almost everything is placed in the hands of God, hence the importance of the pastor. Most of the statements are loaded with huge contradictions.

I tried to find the Amazon link for this, but could not. If anyone knows the real name of this film or where to purchase it, please let me know.


José Padilha – Pure Genius

Most people know José Padilha as simply being the director of Elite Squad I and II, but I consider him a genius of the film industry, not only in Brazil. Few directors manage to capture the soul of individuals, regardless of frontiers, like he does. His characters are real, intense, convincing, likeable, detestable, intriguing but never, ever boring. His films are quick-paced documentary style bombs that keep you strapped to your seat until the very end. It´s a real pity that there is little information in English out there about him, and it´s even more of a pity that Brazilians don´t really seem to value the representative they have. Maybe it´s because he shows a side of Brazil that Brazilians themselves don´t want to see.

Padilha seems to be on a mission, and that is to express and show on film the things that upset him, like the corruption, extreme poverty and lawlessness that weighs Brazil down like a ton of Jurassic bricks. While everyone is ecstatic about the way Brazil is growing and “lifting off”, he insists on being the nagging reminder of the way life really is.

In addition to Elite Squad, films directed by Padilha include:

Garapa, a documentary about extreme poverty in Brazil. To make this documentary, he travelled to Ceará, one of Brazil´s poorest regions, and almost randomly selected families pointed out to him by local NGOs. He then filmed the daily lives of these families for a few months.

Bus 174, a documentary film about Sandro Barbosa do Nascimento, a boy who survived the Chacina of Candelaria (the massacre in which 8 street kids that slept at the steps of the Nossa Senhora da Candelaria Church in Rio were killed by a death squad, some of which were members of the police). The documentary shows the events of his life that lead to the hijacking of bus 174, where Sandro was the sole perpetrator.

Secrets of a Tribe
The field of anthropology goes under the magnifying glass in this fiery investigation of the seminal research on Yanomami Indians. In the 1960s and ’70s, a steady stream of anthropologists filed into the Amazon Basin to observe this “virgin” society untouched by modern life. Thirty years later, the events surrounding this infiltration have become a scandalous tale of academic ethics and infighting. Written by Sundance Film Festival

He next film with be “o Corruptólogo” (provisional name that means something like, ‘the expert in corruption’) about the dark goings on of the Brazilian National Congress.

He is also set to direct the remake of Robocop.

Clube do Professor – Free cinema for teachers

In São Paulo, Rio and many other capital Brazilian cities, informal and formal (public and private) school teachers, including English schools, can join the Clube do Professor. This entitles teachers and one companion the right to a full discount on Saturdays, and a 50% discount on weekdays in some cinemas in these cities.

To join the club, ask your school to write a short letter (with company logo, address, phone, etc.) saying you work there, with signature of the director (or similar). You will also need your document. Then go to one of the following cinema theatres and request membership:

Unibanco Arteplex

Shopping Frei Caneca – Rua Frei Caneca, 569 – 3rd floor
First session, 11 a.m.
Information: Patrícia and Ivete
Tel: 011-3266-5115 – e-mail: saopaulo@

Espaço Unibanco

Rua Augusta, 1475 – Cerqueira César

First Session 12 p.m.

Information – Patricia e Ivete

Tel: 011- 3285- 3696 e-mail:

For more information and a full list of cinemas and movie options, visit:

"Quanto vale ou é por quilo?"

I am a film junkie. After watching all the films in the bootleg rental hut near my house in Valença, Bahia, I reluctantly decided to consider films I would seldom watch if I had another choice. This led me to see Brazilian cinema under a very different light. One of the jewels awaiting me on the shelf was, “Quanto vale ou é por quilo?” by Sergio Bianchi.

DVD cover, "Quanto vale ou é por quilo?"This courageous film provides an ironic and very funny perspective of NGOs in Brazil.  I recommend it to all those who speak and understand the nuances of Portuguese, because the language can be tricky to foreigners.

In the film, there is a sadly hysterical scene in which a very poor family is awarded a night at a five-star hotel with cordon-bleu cuisine and all. As they push their food around on their plates, looking miserable, the mastermind behind the “social project” comments on the benefits of this opportunity they have been granted.

The film is brilliantly directed, with a creative and ingenious script and the best character actors Brazil has to offer.

Directed by Sergio Bianchi, script by Sergio Bianchi, Nilton Canito, Sabrina Anzuapegui and Eduardo Benain. 110 minutes.