How has Brazil’s cinema industry been affected by the one-two punch of the pandemic on top of ongoing social and political issues? And, can you talk a bit about how the acclaimed Cannes-winner Bacurau shocked the nation two years ago, and in what ways the film confronted these problems?
This question is challenging because there’s so much happening. At this moment, we have 428,000 deaths [from] Covid and we are still mourning the Jacarézinho favela massacre in Rio de Janeiro. We have very troubled political representatives that are not fighting Covid in an adequate way to say the least, and we have had major cut downs in the cultural sector since, in Brazil, a lot of artistic and cultural projects are developed with governmental incentives. It is hard to produce art without institutional support and it is very complicated to produce art during this tragic pandemic.
Right before this chaos, we had Bacurau. Actually, I have a pleasant anecdote about my experience with Bacurau. Everybody was talking about how it was going to premiere at a special event with the presence of its directors. We had some expectations regarding the premiere because it was going to be free of charge and it would take place at the heart of São Paulo, the Avenida Paulista, in an immense theater.
We arrived at 1pm to form a line and people were there already. I discovered through Twitter that the first boy in line was hungry so I gave him a banana. I had brought a lot of snacks. The line was part of the event, and it got so long you couldn’t believe it. It was great to see so many friends and people gathered to see a movie—and such an important movie! There weren’t enough seats for everyone but they exhibited the film in two different rooms so more people could enjoy it.
I love everything about that day and I think it helps me to have some perspective on cinema, culture, politics and what we can accomplish by working collectively—people uniting to fight dirty politicians, people joining forces to fight social menaces, generosity, empathy, fight for justice and the power of the masses.