Cannes Film Fest 2019: Bacurau–Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Follow-Up to Aquarius

Bacurau, the harrowing Brazilian feature, world premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

In a futuristic social order where the slaughter of human beings has become a transactional, recreational activity, the notion death very well may be preferable to life.

The film’s title, Bacurau, derives from a small village in northeastern Brazil that is under external and internal threats.

Set in the near future, the tale centers on the battle of the region’s residents over access to water with a corrupt local politician. Bacurau no longer appears on GPS maps, and cellular communications are nonexistent. And that’s before a bunch of “Most Dangerous Game”-style thrill seekers show up, looking to get their kicks by racking a very high body count and pushing the movie toward a spectacular violence.

Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and his regular production designer, Juliano Dornelles, “Bacurau” is a modern-day western with some of the raw, hallucinatory power of a Sergio Leone epic.

Also in the mix: horror and science fiction, psychotropic drugs and traditional folklore, UFO-shaped drone cameras and vintage firearms.


Large crowd including guitarist Rodger Rogerio in Bacurau.
Photograph from Kino International / Everett

Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho directed this bold political and supernatural fantasy about a rural Brazilian village that, during an electoral campaign, is subjected to attack by a band of mercenaries and organizes a

It’s quite a rich and dense tale that, despite shortcomings, has cumulative impact.