After picking up a Grand Jury Prize at Cannes after its 2019 May debut, Brazilian directors Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ wholly unclassifiable genre thriller went on to dominate the Brazilian box office with a $2.5 million take, good enough to place it over Hollywood offerings like “Knives Out,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“The film is a genre movie combining multiple genres, including sci-fi, western, slasher, and the Brazilian “cangaço” genre, closely linked to the portrayal on-screen of the sertão and embodied here by Lunga, another mythical character, who flits here and there like an apparition”, said director Kleber Mendonça Filho. Reminding that “Cangaço” was a form of “social banditry” prevalent in the North-East of Brazil in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and featured heavily in Brazilian cinema of the 50s and 60s.
In his glowing review of the film at Cannes, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote that “Bacurau” is “a gloriously demented (and lightly psychedelic) Western that starts in outer space, ends with Udo Kier being hunted by a ghost, and spends the rest of its runtime blending everything from ‘Seven Samurai’ to ‘Hostel’ into a bloody and unapologetic ‘fuck you’ to anyone who thinks that cutting edge technology entitles them to see the world as their own personal slaughterhouse.” So, it’s a little different than Mendonça Filho’s previous features “Neighboring Sounds” and “Aquarius.” Just a smidge.
The soundtrack features pop songs and instrumental pieces, including futuristic electronic compositions. It’s interesting to note that the musicians Mateus Alves and Tomaz Alves who were in charge of the original score, are brothers, cinephiles with very different styles that mixed up a cocktail of Geraldo Vandré (Brazili-an), Jerry Goldsmith and something electronic. “The greatest challenge for the music in the movie is know-ing when to shut up, which often happens with me. When you embrace the genre with all its narrative twists and turns, it’s better to have music. And when it all comes together, it’s very beautiful”, added Kleber Mendonça Filho.
The film stars Sônia Braga, a Brazilian-American known in the English-speaking world for her Golden Globe Award-nominated performances in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and Moon Over Parador (1988); Udo Kier (German actor), Karine Teles, Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Tardelly Lima and Silvero Pereira. It’s written and directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, and the running time is 131min.
Now, after screening at festivals like Mill Valley Film Festival (CA) and New York Film Festival (NY), Bacurau is finally gearing up for its U.S. release. The screening tour started in two theaters and New York City on March 6th and reaches over 40 cities across the U.S including 6 cities in California.
Landmark Nuart Theatre, Los Angeles, from March 13 to 19.
Lumiere Theatre, Los Angeles, from March 20 to 26.
Riviera Theatre, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, from March 27 to April 2.
Landmark Opera Plaza Cinema, San Francisco, from March 27 to April 2.
The Pageant Theater, Chico, from March 27 to April 2.
Landmark Shattuck Cinemas, Berkeley, from March 27 to April 2.
Media Arts Center/Digital Gyn, San Diego, from April 3 to April 9.
- Jury Prize – Cannes Film Festival
- Award Winner Munich International Film Festival
- Official Selection – New York Film Festival
- Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival