Dirs. Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles
NR, 131min, Brazil, 2020
Teresa comes home to her matriarchal village in a near-future Brazil to find that its citizens have been sold as prey to bloodthirsty hunters, in Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ politically charged genre hybrid.
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The town in the shocker Bacarau is fictional, a bit magical, at once ordinary and otherworldly. It’s filled with faces that have life etched in them, which helps deepen the realism. And while the story is set in the near future, it looks like the present: the charming landscapes, laughing children, crowing roosters, the grinning balladeer with a guitar. Then, the guns come out, history rushes in and a ghost pops by. (It smiles.)… An exhilarating fusion of high and low, the movie takes a shopworn premise—townsfolk facing a violent threat—and bats it around until it all goes ka-boom.
— Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Brazilian auteur Kleber Mendonça Filho, here co-directing with his producer and production designer Juliano Dornelles, has relinquished the quieter, more humanistic tones of his earlier pictures for this disturbing ultraviolent freakout. Set deep in the north-eastern Sertão – the Brazilian outback – it mashes up many themes and influences, but is chiefly a scream of satirical defiance against new president Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right globaliser who made his international statesman debut at Davos this year, famously promising to make the country more open to foreign trade. This movie’s closing credits pointedly note that the production created 800 jobs.
— Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian