5 Brazilian films premièring at the 45th Durban International Film Festival

Multi-award-winning film, “City of God”. Picture: Supplied

Multi-award-winning film, “City of God”. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 1, 2024


Movie fanatics can embark on a cinematic journey of Brazil’s rich culture through a variety of films set to showcase at the 2024 Durban International Film Festival (Diff).

The festival, which runs from July 18 to 28, is an opportunity for film-makers to expand their networks, by attracting local and international stakeholders. It is also a gateway to global cinematic gems that enrich South African audiences.

This year’s line-up includes five culturally-rich Brazilian films.

Diff will be premièring the critically-acclaimed and multi-award-winning film, “City of God”, which premiered in 2002 at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the 2003 Oscars.

The film has recently been restored and is being re-released worldwide.

According to a statement, “City of God” is ground-breaking in its realistic and unflinching portrayal of the stranglehold that gangs had over life in the favelas of Brazil.“

It is a powerful and unfiltered story about a world of contrasts, where hope and despair coexist.

The South African premiere at Diff is part of a two-year collaboration between the Durban International Film Festival and the Mostra de Cinemas Africanos (Brazil African Film Festival).

Ana Camila Esteves, the director of Mostra de Cinemas Africanos, said the screening of “City of God” at Diff would be a significant moment.

“It is an ideal time to reflect on ‘City of God’ and the contemporary Brazilian cinema selections at Diff, enabling audiences to understand the evolution of Brazilian audiovisual storytelling,” she said.

Other films from Brazil on offer include:

“Malu” by Pedro Freire

Set in Rio de Janeiro in 1997, the film follows Malu, a 50-year-old unemployed and bipolar actress.

Dreaming of her glorious past in the theatre, she finds herself obliged to house her mother, Lili. The arrival of Joana, Malu’s daughter interrupts their violent fights. The brief period of harmony ends and Malu evicts her mother.

A few years later, lonely and abandoned, Malu develops severe neurological conditions and Joana finally returns to care for her.

“Malu”. Picture: Supplied.

“A Strange Path” by Guto Parente

A familial bond is explored in this film as David returns to Brazil and begins an uncomfortable co-existence with his estranged father during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A Strange Path”. Picture: Supplied

Parente has created a piece of pandemic film, which explores the universal theme of strained family relationships in this tender drama of reconnection and reconciliation.

“Property” by Daniel Bandeira

“Property” is an intense and nerve-racking survival thriller that tests the viewer’s moral compass.

After surviving a hostage situation, a wealthy woman, Teresa, has lived in seclusion. On a trip with her husband, the couple is confronted by the wrath of exploited farm workers embarking upon a protest and her fears are reignited.

“Property”. Picture: Supplied.

The tense stand-off escalates, and questions of wrongdoing and legitimacy are interrogated.

“Exotismos” by Alessandra Regina Gama

This is a colourful and vibrant explorations of Yoná, an artist who works as a hair stylist.

In a vibrant and intimate setting, she challenges beauty clichés, exploring self-esteem in an engaging artistic journey.

“Exotismos”. Picture: Supplied.

Andrea Voges, the head of programming for the Durban International Film Festival said: “Each one of these films affords a glimpse into aspects of Brazilian society.

“With many contrasts, there is also a vast array of common experiences and values that our two countries share.

“Film is a powerful medium to recognise our differences, share our commonalities, and celebrate our cultural and artistic collaboration.”

∎ The Durban International Film Festival will take place at commercial venues like NuMetro Pavilion, Ster-Kinekor, Suncoast CineCentre, The Bioscope (Johannesburg) and The Labia (Cape Town). The non-commercial venues include Cap Studios, Denis Hurley, Luthuli Museum, K-Cap and Wushwini Art Centre.

Festival passes are available at Webtickets. Single tickets are also available at R80 at each cinema.