Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho (Neighbouring Sounds, Aquarius) returns with another critically adored film, Bacurau, this time co-written and directed with Juliano Dornelles. Winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes 2019, where it also screened in Competition, it’s an ultra-violent revenge western with touches of futuristic sci-fi, a new foray into genre (blurring) territory, featuring Sonia Braga (Aquarius) and Udo Kier.
Teresa (Bárbara Colen) travels home for the funeral of her grandmother, the former matriarch of Bacurau, a dusty village in the Sertão (the Brazilian outback) that celebrates its eclectic range of inhabitants, misfits and outsiders all. But on her arrival, she finds Bacurau beset by strange happenings after the intrusion of middle-class elites from the north, who are exploiting the land and its people, selling them out to European and American interests.
Inspired by Filho and Dornelles’ experience of watching several ethno-documentaries at film festivals while screening Cold Tropics, and responding to the overt simplicity of the portrayal of people ‘from far away places’, the move from the quieter tones of Neighbouring Sounds and Aquarius to the grisly, paranoid violence and wild-hearted fury seen here is clearly also a retort to the election of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro; as well as an artistic riff on the cinema of directors including Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sergio Leone and John Carpenter. Hallucinatory and formally thrilling, Bacurau is an ecstatic, utterly distinctive experience delivered by one of the most exciting directors at work today.
Director: Kleber Mendonca Filho
Cast: Udo Kier, Barbara Colen, Thomas Aquino
Running Time: 132 minutes