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Bacarau (A Movie Review)

Updated: Sep 27, 2023


BACURAU (2019)

Starring Sonia Braga, Udo Kier, Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Perera, Thardelly Lima, Rubens Santos, Wilson Rabelo, Carlos Francisco, Luciana Souza, Karine Teles, Antonio Saboia, Jonny Mars, Alli Willow, James Turpin, Julia Marie Peterson, Brian Townes, Charles Hodges, Chris Doubek, Buda Lira, Clebia Sousa, Danny Barbosa, Edilson Silva, Eduarda Samara, Fabiola Liper, Ingrid Trigueiro, Jamila Facury, Jr. Black, Márcio Fecher, Rodger Rogerio, Suzy Lopes, Uirá Dos Reis, Val Junior, Valmir do Côco and Zoraide Coleto.

Screenplay by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles.

Directed by Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho.

Distributed by Kino Lorber. 131 minutes. Not Rated.

Screened at the 2019 Philadelphia Film Festival.

Big news everyone. Bacurau has found a US release date: March 6, 2020.

Adventure-tourism has gone very, very wrong in this chilling, edge of your seat Brazilian film that was my personal favorite of the 2019 Philadelphia International Film Festival.

This two-plus hour film sped by, first with masterful storytelling about the small village of Bacurau. It is a village with a history (are you here to see the museum??) where generations of villagers have grown and left and returned. There is the town medical professional (played by the iconic Sonia Braga), a school, a water truck. There is no need for a police force – the villagers take what they need and nothing more, leaving plenty for their neighbors. They are far from rich, but do not feel poor. Kids run around the village without oversight, without fear, as kids should.

They are a community.

But something bad is afoot. First, there is the real-world issue of water. The town’s water supply is being controlled by the icky Mayor Tony. He is up for re-election, trying to guarantee the villagers’ votes by dumping a truckload of old books off at the school and bringing in supplies of food and medicine.

While the village may be small, its villagers are not small minded, and they are on to this creep. On one of his drive throughs, the villagers “disappear” in the ultimate example of ghosting, completely ignoring him and his attempts at attention.

Second, people are mysteriously being killed off. Picked off. One by one. By a group of true sickos – American tourists, immersed in what appears to be a game where there seems to be some kind of a point system for kills. Human kills. That can only be made by a member of this group, banded together by their love of vintage weaponry. One member tells about the first time she held a tommy gun. You think she’s being ironic.

But she’s not.

Bacurau felt original while reminding me of films like Overlord and Get Out. All three get their audiences comfortable with the challenges at hand through humor and all have villains so bad that any gore directed at them feels well justified.

I don’t want to give anything more away, but if you are interested in dark, socially relevant cinema, be sure to catch Bacurau when it releases in the US. I can’t wait to watch it again.

Bonnie Paul

Copyright ©2019 All rights reserved. Posted: October 24, 2019.


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