LFF Review: Bacurau

Brazilian cinema is in rude health at the moment. The South American country, which has given the world such great films as City of God, House of Sand, Central Station and Pixote, has a strong pedigree in delivering vibrant and challenging film-making. In the last decade, Araby, Neighbouring Sounds, A Wolf at The Door and Aquarius have wowed festival audiences. Bacurau is set to continue that trend.

In a near-future Brazil, Theresa (Barbara Colen) returns home for the funeral of her grandmother, the matriarch of her village. She discovers all is not well with the ragtag residents. For one thing, their home seems to have been eradicated from the map by their rich northern masters. Whilst their deprived of water and basic supplies by the mayor (Thardelly Lima), it begins to become apparent that they’ve become sport for rich hunters, led by Michael (Udo Kier). 

Bacurau is a dizzying genre spanning mix of political critique and riotous indignation. Directors Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho have several points to make about wealthy ‘conquistadors’ and Brazilian’s corrupt right-wing government, and they aren’t scared to make them. This anger provides the beating heart of Bacurau. It’s a brilliant film stuffed full of so many elements it can feel a little overwhelming, at times. You never quite know what’s going to happen next.

Bacurau screens again at London Film Festival on 5 October.

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