After the death of her grandmother, Teresa comes home to her matriarchal village in a near-future Brazil to find a succession of sinister events that mobilizes all of its residents.
Wikipedia describes ‘Bacurau’ as a weird western, which I must confess is the first time I’ve seen that description, and I’ve watched a lot of films over the last 10 years! Only when watching the film does it become apparent that it’s probably a fair description, and the only other film I can think of that comes close to ‘Bacurau’ in a tonal sense is S. Craig Zahler’s ‘Bone Tomahawk’, an equally odd genre-blurring movie in a western setting. It is directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, and follows up Filho’s ‘Aquarius’, a superb film about corruption in Brazil, and both films share the excellent Sonia Braga in a central role.
This film is set in a fictional town called Bacurau in the Brazilian sertão (outback), where a close-knit community are gathering for the funeral of the town’s matriarch. It’s a remote place, an hour’s drive from the nearest ‘big’ town, and it’s a place that doesn’t see many outsiders. Shortly after the funeral, a series of strange events start to occur hinting at an outside influence, with bullet holes discovered in the town’s water tanks and a nearby farm’s horses all being set loose, not to mention a resident being followed by a drone that looks more like a small spaceship. Teresa (Barbara Colen), who has recently returned to the village, and Pacote (Thomas Aquino) lead the way to attempt to discover what’s going on, and it’s fair to say things only get crazier from this point onwards. Filho is a political filmmaker and there are socio-political themes sprinkled throughout as metaphors, but this is also a film that can be enjoyed purely on surface level as a furiously entertaining genre mash up. I didn’t always know what was going on, but I was along for the ride and I really enjoyed it.
‘Bacurau’ is a more daring piece of work from Filho (and Dornelles) than his previous film ‘Aquarius’ but it’s every bit as engaging a watch. A film to best watch knowing as little as possible about it beforehand, and in these current times, it’s available on Curzon Home Cinema so you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home!
Directed By: Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles
Starring: Sônia Braga, Udo Kier, Barbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira, Thardelly Lima, Rubens Santos, Wilson Rabelo, Carlos Francisco, Luciana Souza, Karine Teles and Julia Marie Peterson