Dictatorship Filmography, 2009-2019

Cidadão Boilensen/Citizen Boilensen (2009), d. Chaim Litewski,

Documentary about Henning Albert Boilensen, Danish businessman who not only financed but also participated in torture sessions and ended up being killed by guerrilhas in the 70s.

En teu nome/ In your Name (2009), d. Paulo Nascimento.

A young engineering student gets involved in the armed resistance to the military regime. He is arrested, brutally tortured and exiled as a result. Then he rebuilds his life in Chile until the coup d’état that overthrows Allende sends him into exile again.

Perdão, Mister Fiel/Forgiveness, Mr. Faithful (2009), d. Jorge Oliveira.

Documentary about the life of Manoel Fiel Filho, factory worker who had migrated from the northeast to São Paulo at the age of 18. Arrested inside the factory where he worked, he died in a cell at the political police in 1976. The police alleged Fiel Filho had committed suicide, but in fact he had been strangled.

Utopia e Barbárie (2009), d. Silvio Tendler.

Interviewing former guerrillas, filmmakers, artists, and intellectuals from Brazil and fourteen other countries over 19 years, Tendler aims to offer a broad panorama of the generation that changed the world in the 1960.

Topografia de um Desnudo/Topography of a Nude (2010), d. Tereza Aguiar.

On the eve of the 1964 coup é’tat a secret operation kidnaps, tortures and kills several homeless in Rio ro clean the city for the visit of Queen Elizabeth. Their bodies are disposed in the rivers Guandú and da Guarda. A scandal triggers an investigation that is abruptly interrupted when the military take over in 1964. The military and police involved in the operation would later be at the forefront of the repressive apparatus of the military regime.

Diário de uma Busca/Diary of a Search (2010), d. Flávia Castro.

Personal dictionary in which a daughter tries to elucidate the circumstances of his father’s death. Celso Castro had returned to Brazil after a long period in exile and died in 1984 in mysterious circumstances – the police claimed he was cornered and then committed suicide. The film brings the perspective of the children of those who fought the military regime.

Review by Lauro Escorel: https://piaui.folha.uol.com.br/materia/diario-de-uma-busca/#

Hoje/Today (2011) d. Tata Amaral.

An adaptation of Fernando Bonassi’s Prova Contrária. Vera (Denise Fraga) buys an apartment with money she has received from the government in compensation for the ‘disappearance’ of her husband, Luis. As she moves in, Luis (played by the Uruguyan César Troncoso), reappears – after a nearly 30-year absence. 

Interview with Tata Amaral about the movie: http://www.timeout.com.br/sao-paulo/en/film/features/393/tata-amaral-interview

Uma longa viagem/A Long Trip (2011), d. Lúcia Murat.

Documentary in which Murat uses actor Caio Blat to reenact letters her brother Heitor Murat Vasconcelos sent her from abroad at the time she was in prison. Their parentes sent Heitor abroad in order to prevent him from having the same fate as his sister, who was arrested, tortured and kept in prison for three years and a half by the military regime.

Furtado, Gustavo Procópio. (2019) “Firsthand Dictatorship Memory in the Contemporary Documentary.” Documentary Filmmaking in Contemporary Brazil. New York: Oxford UP. 181-186.

Cara ou coroa/Heads or Tails (2012), d. Ugo Giorgetti.

In 1971, while members of the US theater group Living Theater are arrested on drug charges by the military regime, a director rehearses Peter Weiss’ The Investigation and debates his aesthetic choices with a fellow member of the communist party in São Paulo. His younger brother hides two militants persecuted by the dictatorship in the house of his girlfriend’s grandfather, a conservative retired military.

O dia que durou 21 anos/ The Day that Lasted 21 Years (2012), d. Camilo Tavares.

Making use of recently released classified documents from the Department of Justice, this documentary focuses on the support of the United States for the coup d’état that overthrew João Goulart and started the military regime.

Review at http://www.revistainterludio.com.br/?p=4012

A Memória que me contam/Memories They Told Me (2012), d. Lúcia Murat.

Dedicated to the memory of Vera Magalhães, the legendary guerrilla fighter who participated in the kidnapping  of the US ambassador. A group of friends who resisted the military dictatorship and their children get together to celebrate the life of Ana, who is at her deathbed. The film is as much about contemporary conflicts as it is about the past during the dictatorship.

Webpage in English: http://www.taigafilmes.com/memoria/en/index.htm

Repare bem/Pay Attention (2012), d. Maria de Medeiros.

Denise Crispim, daughter of militants against the dictatorship, is in a relationship with the guerrilla Eduardo Leite, a.k.a. Bacuri. She becomes pregnant as her family is persecuted. Her brother is murdered and her mother is arrested. Bacuri is tortured and then killed. Her daughter Eduarda is born and Denise becomes a political refugee in Chile. After Pinochet becomes dictator, mother and child move to Italy. Forty years later mother and daughter are pardoned by the Brazilian government and decide to tell their story.

Interview with director [in French]: https://www.artistikrezo.com/cinema/maria-de-medeiros-les-yeux-de-bacuri.html

Marighella (2012), d. Isa Grinspum Ferraz.

Documentary on the life and works of Carlos Marighella, leader of the ALN (Aliança Libertadora Nacional) assassinated in 1969. The director is Marighella’s niece and adds a personal perspective to the biography of one of the most famous enemies of the military dictatorship.

Os Dias com Ele/The Days with Him (2012), d. Maria Clara Escobar.

Documentary about the director’s father, professor Carlos Henrique Escobar. After he was arrested and tortured by the military regime, Escobar abandoned his profession and moved to a small village in Portugal, where he lives as a recluse and refuses to speak about his past.  

Article: https://journals.openedition.org/cinelatino/882

Tatuagem/Tattoo (2013), d. Hilton Lacerda.

Story of a love affair between a soldier and the leader of na alternative theater group in Pernambuco in 1978, in the middle of the slow process of opening up the military regime.

Movie webpage: http://www.tatuagemofilme.com.br/

Trago comigo/ With Me (2013), d. Tata Amaral.

Telmo (Carlos Alberto Riccelli) took part in the armed resistance to the dictatorship. He was arrested, tortured and exiled. Now he is a theater director in São Paulo, and he suddenly realizes there is gaps in his memory about that time. He decides to stage a play about that time with young actors who sometimes cannot understand his generation.

Newspaper article: https://tools.folha.com.br/print?site=emcimadahora&url=http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrada/2016/06/1782005-tata-amaral-expoe-historias-de-tortura-e-briga-de-geracoes-em-trago-comigo.shtml

Em busca de Iara/Looking for Iara (2013), d. Flavio Frederico.

Documentary about the life of Iara Iavelberg, militant killed in 1971 at the age of 27. Until 2003 the official cause of Iara’s death was suicide, and the documentary aims to disprove the official version.

Newspaper article: http://g1.globo.com/pop-arte/cinema/noticia/2014/03/estreia-em-busca-de-iara-resgata-figura-da-militante-iara-iavelberg.html

Dossier Jango (2013), d. Paulo Henrique Fontenelle.

Documentary that rediscusses the idea that president João Goulart, who had been overthrown by the military in 1964, was murdered in Uruguay.

Setenta/Seventy (2013), d. Emília Silveira.

Documentary about the kidnapping of the Swiss ambassador that freed 70 political prisoners that boarded a plane to Chile. They were all banned by the government. Forty years later Emilia Silveira interviews the surviving kidnappers and rescued prisoners.

Meninos de Kichute/Boy’s Soccer Club (2013), d. Luca Amberg. 

An adaptation of Márcio Américo’s novel (2002), about children growing up during the military regime and dreaming of a career in soccer amidst growing class tensions.

 Interview with Márcio Américo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02tOouXbiTo

Retratos de Indentificação/Identification Portraits (2014), d. Anita Leandro.

Director Anita Leandro uses photographs and documents from the 70s, to gather testimonies from survivors Antonio Roberto Espinosa and Reinaldo Guarany Simões about two fellow militants: Chael Charles Schreier, killed during a torture session in 1969, and Maria Auxiliadora Lara Barcelos, who killed herself in Berlin in 1976.

Calabouço – Um tiro no coração do Brasil/Dungeon: A Shot to the Heart of Brazil (2014), d. Carlos Prozato.

Documentary about a group of students, mostly coming from the northeast, who fought against the closure of an affordable restaurant run by a student association. The restaurant served working class students and became a hotbed of grassroots resistance to the military regime. In 1967 a violent police intervention resulted in the deaths of three people. Edson Luís, a high school student was shot at point blank and his funeral marked the beginning of the last largest street protests against the regime. 

Osvaldão (2014), d. Ana Petta, Fábio Bardella and André Lorenz Michiles.

Documentary about Osvaldo Orlando da Costa, commander at the Araguaia guerrilla. A boxing champion in 1950s coming crom a family of former slaves, Osvaldão became a legend in Araguaia.

Os Militares da Democracia: os militares que disseram Não/The Military of Democracy: The Military Personnel Who Said No (2014), d. Silvio Tendler.

Documentary about members of the military who refused to follow orders and disrespect human rights during the dictatorship.

Os advogados contra a ditadura /Lawyers Against the Dictatorship (2014), d. Silvio Tendler.

Documentary about the struggles of the lawyers that fought against human right abuses during the military dictatorship and suffered persecution as a result.

Meninos de Kichute/Boy’s Soccer Club (2013), d. Luca Amberg. 

An adaptation of Márcio Américo’s novel (2002), about children growing up during the military regime and dreaming of a career in soccer amidst growing class tensions.

 Interview with Márcio Américo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02tOouXbiTo

Depois da chuva/After the Rain (2015), d. Cláudio Marques & Marília Hughes.

Story of a teenager’s difficult entry into adulthood in 1984, when a new, iconoclastic generation gets to speak up as the military regime starts to collapse with mass demonstrations asking for free presidential elections.

Review in Portuguese: http://revistacinetica.com.br/home/depois-da-chuva-de-claudio-marques-e-marilia-hughes-brasil-2013/

Estranhos na Noite – Mordaça no Estadão em Tempos de Censura/Strangers in the Night: Gag at the Stadium in Times of Censorship(2016), d. Camilo Tavares.

The military regime submitted all major newspapers to daily previews by their censors, who could veto content on the spot. The conservative daily Estado de São Paulo, which had supported the military coup d’état in 1964, found creative ways to fight back,  and this documentary tells this story.

Shtromberg, Elena. “Newspapers” (2016) Art systems: Brazil and the 1970s. Austin: University of Texas Press. 42-90.

Torre das Donzelas/Tower of Maidens(2018), d. Suzana Lira.

Documentary about the female political prisoners who served sentences in the infamous Presídio Tiradentes, including former president Dilma Roussef.

Article at RFI: http://br.rfi.fr/brasil/20190416-rfi-convida-susanna-lira

Deslembro/Unremember (2018), d. Flávia Castro.

Story of a teenage girl who grew up in France while her parents where exiled and her struggle to adapt when she has to return to Brazil in the early 1980s. Furthermore, she has to come to terms with the painful memories of her father, who was disappeared by the military regime.

Review by Cineuropa at https://cineuropa.org/en/newsdetail/359741/

Tá Rindo de Quê? Humor e Ditadura/What Are You Laughing About: Humor and Dictatorship (2018), d.Cláudio Manoel, Álvaro Campos and Alê Braga.

Documentary about the work of comedians during the dictatorship, from facing bomb threats to dealing with official government censorship.

1968 – A Greve de Contagem/1968: The Contagem Strike(2018), d. Carlos Pronzato.

Documentary about the first worker’s strike after the coup d’état in 1964. The labor movement had suffered a violent government intervention with the excuse that it was necessary to eliminate subversive elements in the unions. The steelworkers in the manufacturing hub of Contagem, close to Belo Horizonte, defied the anti-strike legislation that had been introduced by the regime and securede a 10% raise that was later extended to all industrial workers in Brazil.

Soldados do Araguaia/Araguaia Soldiers (2018), d. Belisário Franca.

Documentary about memories of eight private soldiers who were sent to Araguaya to fight the guerrillas in the jungle. They tell stories of abuses they themselves suffered as well as memories of gruesome torture and massacres.

Review in Portuguese: https://oglobo.globo.com/rioshow/critica-soldados-do-araguaia-22512462

Marighella (2019), d. Wagner Moura.

Well-known actor Wagner Moura’s  directorial debut, this biopic tells the story of Carlos Marighella, one of the main leaders of the armed resistance against the military regime.

Article: https://variety.com/2019/film/news/berlin-film-festival-brazil-government-premiere-marighella-1203141053/

Pastor Claúdio (2019), d. Beth Formaggini.

Documentary about Cláudio Guerra, former police inspector now a priest. As a member of the military regime repression apparatus, Guerra participated in several kidnappings, torture sessions, executions, and disappearances of militants during the Dirty War.

Interview with Beth Formaggini at http://revistadecinema.com.br/2019/03/pastor-claudio/