Films

Below are all the Portuguese-language films I’ve seen about Rio de Janeiro. All 65 of them, of which 29 are documentaries, are in alphabetical order and you can find their IMDB page, if they have one, by clicking on the cover image of each film.

Abaixo fiz uma lista de todos os filmes de língua portuguesa sobre o Rio que tenho visto. Os 65 na lista, dos quais 29 são documentários, são em ordem alfabética e se pode localizar a página IMDB deles, se tiver, clicando na capa de cada filme. 

My wish list: O Samba que Mora em Mim, Corpo do Rio, Um Dia de Praia Com Roberto DaMatta, São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, Geraldinos, Pra Onde Corre o Rio, Batalha do Passinho, Onde a Coruja Dorme, Bernardes, Elis, Crônica da Demolição, and Remoção.


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400 CONTRA 1 (‘400 Against 1’)
2010, Caco Souza, 5.3
Drama / Crime / History

About the early days of the biggest criminal organization in Brazil, the “Comando Vermelho” (Red command).

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5x FAVELA
2010, Cacau Amaral, Cadu Barcelos, etc, 6.7
Comedy / Crime / Drama

Five segments about the hardships faced by people living in slums on hills in Rio de Janeiro.

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5x PACIFICAÇÃO
(“5x Pacification’)
2012, Cadu Barcelos, Rodrigo Felha, etc, 4.7
Documentary

The views of four young filmmakers from Rio’s favelas, post-pacification.

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ACHADOS E PERDIDOS (Lost & Found)
2005, José Joffily, 6.0
Drama / Crime

Ex-cop is involved in the death of his lover, a prostitute who works in the streets of Copacabana. Meanwhile, he is blackmailed by an old friend and gets seriously involved with another prostitute.

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AS BATIDAS DO SAMBA
(‘Samba Beats’)
2010, Bebeto Abrantes
Documentary / Music

Tells the history of Rio samba and its rhythmic evolution, since the beginning to current day.

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BOCA DE LIXO (‘Mouth of Trash’)
1990, Roberto Talma, 7.9
Documentary

The daily routine of poor people of Itaoca, São Gonçalo, state of Rio de Janeiro, who make a living out of recycling garbage.

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BOSSA NOVA
2001, Bruno Barreto, 6.5
Drama / Romance

A fun and light hearted film about the romantic involvements of an ensemble of diverse but interconnected characters including one relationship hatched over the Internet.

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BOSSA NOVA: THE SOUND THAT SEDUCED THE WORLD
2008, Greg Appel
Documentary / Music

A film about the pioneers of bossa nova.

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BRASILEIRINHO
(The Sound of Rio: Brasileirinho)
2005, Mika Kaurismäki, 7.4
Documentary / Music

A tribute about “choro”, an older style of playing that forms the foundation of all Brazilian composition, including samba and bossa nova.

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CASA GRANDE
2014, Felipe Barbosa, 7.0
Drama

Exploring issues of class privilege among Rio’s decadent elite, Casa Grande depicts a teenage boy’s struggle to escape his overprotective parents as they covertly spiral into bankruptcy.

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CAZUZA – O TEMPO NÃO PÁRA
(‘Cazuza – Time Doesn’t Stop’)
2004, Walter Carvalho, Sandra Werneck, 7.0
Drama / Biography

The life and times of Cazuza, Brazilian singer/poet, from his start with rock group “Barão Vermelho”, to his death from Aids, in 1990.

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CIDADE DE DEUS (City of God)
2002, Fernando Mierelles, Kátia Lund, 8.7
Drama / Crime

Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.

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CIDADE DOS HOMENS (City of Men)
2007, Paulo Morelli, 7.3
Drama / Crime

Best buddies Acerola and Laranjinha, about to turn 18, discover things about their missing fathers’ pasts which will shatter their solid friendship, in the middle of a war between rival drug gangs from Rio’s favelas.

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CINCO VEZES FAVELA
(‘Five Times Favela’)
1962, Miguel Borges, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, etc, 6.7
Drama

Five segments about the hardships faced by people living in slums on hills in Rio de Janeiro.

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COMPLEXO: UNIVERSO PARALELO
(Complexo: Parallel Universe)
2011, Mário Patrocínio, 6.6
Documentary

How is it to survive in the most dangerous slum in Rio de Janeiro?

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COPACABANA ME ENGANA
(Copacabana Fools Me)
1968, Antonio Carlos de Fontoura, 7.1
Comedy / Drama

Marquinhos is in his early 20s and lives in Copacabana with his petits bourgeois parents and older brother. He meets Irene, a 40 year-old woman and they have a love affair that is going to change his life – for a while.

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O CONTADOR DAS HISTÓRIAS
(The Story of Me)
2009, Luiz Villaça, 7.4
Drama

Based on the life of Roberto Carlos Ramos, is a story about how affection can change reality.

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DANÇANDO COM O DIABO
(Dancing with the Devil)
2008, Jon Blair
Documentary / Crime

The film exposes the complexity and contradictions in a universe of violence, drug trafficking, police and religion.

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DEPOIS ROLA O MOCOTO
2009, Débora Herszenhut
Documentary

Talks about the social role of the “laje” (rooftop) of favela homes in Rio de Janeiro.

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O DIABO A QU4TRO
(Four for None)
2004, Alice de Andrade, 6.5
Comedy

Four people with different values and standards meet in the urban chaos of Copacabana. Rita and Waldick come from the country, and befriend two Rio de Janeiro native guys, upon arrival: a playboy surfer and a pimp.

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A DONA DA HISTÓRIA
(Owner of the Story)
2004, Daniel Filho, 6.5
Romance / Comedy

About a 50 year-old woman who pictures herself when she was 20 years old and re-creates the story of her life through a game of innumerous possibilities…In the plot the present talks to the past. A young woman projects her future in a fascinating game between memories and desires.

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EDIFÍCIO MASTER
2002, Eduardo Coutinho, 8.3
Documentary

The daily lives and routine of 37 families living in a huge 12-story building in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro: their drama, aspirations, intimate revelations, loneliness, dreams…

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ERA UMA VEZ
(Once Upon a Time in Rio)
2008, Breno Silveira, 7.0
Romance

A story of a simple, hard-working poor boy falling in love with a rich girl.

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ESTAMIRA
2004, Marcos Prado, 8.1
Documentary / Biography

About Estamira, a schizophrenic, but very charismatic leader of a small community of old people living off garbage.

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ESTOPIM
2014, Rodrigo Mac Niven, 8.6
Documentary / Crime

About the case of Amarildo de Souza, a stonemason that was tortured to death by Military Police in Rocinha in 2013.

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FAIXA DE AREIA (‘Strip of Sand’)
2007, Flávia Lins e Silva, Daniela Kailman, 6.6
Documentary

‘Faixa de areia’ synthesizes the plurality and complexity of the range of social classes that share the same beaches.

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FALA TU (‘You Talk’)
2003, Guilherme Coelho, 7.5
Documentary

About three rappers living in the North part of Rio de Janeiro, in poor neighborhoods: their lives and dreams.

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FALCÃO – MENINOS DO TRAFICO
(‘Lookout – Boys from the Trade’)
2006, MV Bill
Documentary / Crime

Filmed between 1998 and 2006, it presents the life of young favela dwellers who work with drug trafficking.

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FAVELA BOLADA (Favela On Blast)
2008, Leandro HBL, Wesly Pentz, 7.7
Documentary / Music

About the denominated “Funk” movement in the lower class Brazilian neighborhoods known as favelas. A documentary about music  but indirectly it’s a film about the society and violence in those places.

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FAVELA RISING
2005, Matt Mochary, Jeff Zimbalist, 7.3
Documentary

A man emerges from the slums of Rio to lead the nonviolent cultural movement known as Afro-Reggae.

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A LOUCURA ENTRE NOS (The Madness Among Us)
2016, Fernanda Vareille, 7.1
Documentary

“The madness among us” takes a look at the corridors and grids from a psychiatric hospital in Rio, looking for characters and stories that reveal the boundaries of what is considered crazy.

 

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HISTÓRIAS DE AMOR DURAM APENAS 90 MINUTOS
(Love Stories Only Last 90 minutes)
2009, Paulo Halm, 6.7
Drama / Romance

In Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, the idle aspirant writer Zeca has been living with Júlia for five years. When Júlia travels to São Paulo for work, Zeca has an affair with her best friend. So begins his complicated life.

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LIXO EXTRAORDINÁRIO (Wasteland)
2010, Vik Muniz, 7.9
Documentary

Top-selling contemporary artist Vik Muniz takes us on an emotional journey from Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest landfill on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, to the heights of international art stardom.

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O LOBO ATRAS DA PORTA
(A Wolf at the Door)
2013, Fernando Coimbra, 7.4
Drama / Crime

A journey to the dark cutting edge of desires, lies and wickedness of a love triangle, from the moment a child is mysteriously kidnapped.

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MADAME SATÃ
2002, Karim Ainouz, 7.1
Drama / Biography / Crime

Loose portrait of João Francisco dos Santos, also known as Madame Satã, a sometime chef, transvestite, lover, father, hero and convict from Rio de Janeiro.

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MATOU A FAMÍLIA E FOI AO CINEMA
(Killed the Family and Went to the Movies)
1991, Neville de Almeida, 5.5
Drama / Crime

In Rio de Janeiro, after an altercation with his father and mother, a young man named Bebeto kills his family and goes to a movie theater, where he watches four weird vignettes. The film then makes the viewer watch the vignettes.

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MEU NOME NÃO É JOHNNY
(My Name Ain’t Johnny)
2008, Mauro Lima, 7.2
Drama / Crime

The true story of João Guilherme Estrella (“Johnny”), a young middle-class bon vivant who became a big-time cocaine dealer in Rio de Janeiro in the early 1990s.

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 MISTERIO DO SAMBA
(Mystery of Samba)
2008, Lula Buarque de Hollanda, Carolina Jabor, 7.8
Documentary / Music

Singer Marisa Monte shows the daily life of the community around the samba school Portela.

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MORRO DOS PRAZERES
2013, Maria Augusta Ramos
Documentary

About the first favela to receive a Pacifying Police Unit and how this has affected the community.

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MUITOS HOMENS NUM SO
(Portrait of a Thief)
2014, Mini Kerti, 6.8
Drama / Crime / Biography

Based on the writings of João do Rio, tells the tale of a pickpocket who assumes various identities to steal from the aristocracy in early-20th-century Rio de Janeiro.

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OS NORMAIS (So Normal)
2003, José Alvarenga Jr., 6.7
Comedy

About the day when Rui and Vani first met. Vani was going to marry Sérgio, and Rui would marry Marta in the same church, following Vani’s marriage. While waiting for the ceremony, they begin to talk. Complications ensue.

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OS NORMAIS 2 (So Normal 2)
2009, José Alvarenga Jr., 5.7
Comedy

After thirteen years of engagement, the boring sex life of Rui and Vani is limited to once every other week. They decide to seek excitement with a threesome and they decide to invite Vani’s cousin Silvinha to participate late night, but an accident interrupts their game.

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ÔNIBUS 174 (Bus 174)
2002, José Padilha, Felipe Lacerda, 7.9
Documentary / Crime

What happened in Rio de Janeiro on June 12th 2000, when bus 174 was taken by an armed young man, threatening to shoot all the passengers. Transmitted live on TV.

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ONLY WHEN I DANCE (Vida Ballet)
2009, Beadi Finzi, 6.9
Documentary

Two young kids try to dance their way out of the favelas of Rio.

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O QUE É ISSO, COMPANHEIRO?
1997, Bruno Barreto, 7.4
Drama / Crime

Two friends join a terrorist group to fight the Brazilian dictatorial regime during the late 60s. One is captured during a bank hold up, so the other decides to kidnap the US ambassador to Brazil and ask for the release of political prisoners in exchange for his life.

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ORFEU NEGRO (Black Orpheus)
1957, Marcel Camus, 7.5
Drama / Romance

A retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, set during the time of the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.

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PRETÉRITO PERFEITO
(‘Perfect Past’)
2006, Gustavo Pizzi
Documentary

Follows former customers and employees of one of the most famous brothels in Brazil called the Casa Rosa as they come back to the house where it once stood in all its glory.

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PROIBIDO PROIBIR
(Forbidden to Forbid)
2007, Jorge Durán, 7.2
Drama

About what it means to be a young college student in a big Brazilian city like Rio de Janeiro in the 2000s and have your dreams and hopes downsized by the stark reality.

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QUASE DOIS IRMÃOS (Almost Brothers)
2004, Lúcia Murat, 7.0
Drama / Crime

The strange friendship between two men of opposite social classes. Miguel is a senator. His childhood friend Jorge is a major drug-dealer.

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RIO, 40 GRAUS
1955, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 7.2
Semi-Documentary / Drama

The camera follows boys from a favela who sell peanuts at Copacabana, Sugar Loaf Mountain, and a soccer game. Various subplots, involving characters they meet along the way, are interspersed.

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RIO, ANO ZERO (Rio, Year Zero)
2013, Aude Chevalier-Beaumel, 8.4
Documentary / Politics

In a city where campaigns can take on the appearance of a circus or a carnival, the film tries to decipher the violence and absurdity of a developing country, seen through the mayorial campagin of Marcelo Freixo.

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RIO DE JANO (‘River of Jano’)
2003, Ana Azavedo, Renata Baldi, 7.3
Documentary

About French cartoonist Jano (Jean le Guay), and his visit to Rio de Janeiro in 2000.

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SAMBA
2010, Theresa Jessouroun
Documentary / Music

A film about the samba dance and the dancers who do it.

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SANTA MARTA – DUAS SEMANAS NO MORRO
1987, Eduardo Coutinho, 7.6
Documentary / Crime

The daily life in a shantytown in the north part of Rio de Janeiro, with 10,000 people living in bad conditions, their problems and the issue of police violence.

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TEMPOS DE PAZ (Peacetime)
2009, Daniel Filho, 7.1
Drama / History

Segismundo is a former political police officer of Getúlio Vargas’ government, who used to torture prisoners. In April 1945, he is the chief of the Inmigration Office in Rio de Janeiro and, therefore, is in charge of preventing the entry of nazis. A Polish man must convince him that he is a victim in order to gain access to the country.

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TROPA DE ELITE (Elite Squad)
2007, José Padilha, 8.1
Drama / Crime

Captain Nascimento has to find a substitute for his occupation while trying to take down drug dealers and criminals before the Pope comes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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TROPA DE ELITE 2
(Elite Squad: The Enemy Within)
2010, José Padilha, 8.1
Drama / Crime

After a disastrous special forces operation on a prison riot, a maturing Lt Col. Nascimento gets caught in a bloody political dispute that involves not only the Public Safety Department, the State governor and State Military Police, but also paramilitary groups.

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ÚLTIMAS CONVERSAS
(Last Conversations)
2015, Eduardo Coutinho, 7.9
Documentary

The late director Eduardo Coutinho sits down and talks with young Brazilian students in his last documentary.

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ÚLTIMA PARADA 174 (Last Stop 174)
2008, Bruno Barreto, 7.1
Drama / Crime

A chronicle of a real-life bus hijacking in Rio de Janeiro that occurred on June 12, 2000.

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O VENDEDOR DE PASSADOS (Seller of Pasts)
2015, Lula Buarque de Hollanda
Drama

Vicente is a seller of pasts. Working from home, he corrects people’s unfortunate pasts by editing their photos and documents and creating fake memories.

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VOCAÇÃO DO PODER
(Vocation of Power)
2005, Eduardo Escorel, José Joffily, 7.4
Documentary / Politics

It follows the campaign of 6 candidates to the municipal legislative council of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

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O XANGÔ DE BAKER STREET
(The Xango from Baker Street)
2001, Miguel Faria Jr., 6.7
Comedy / History

Rio de Janeiro, 1886. Actress Sarah Bernhardt performs at the city’s Municipal Theater, captivating the local audience enthralled by French culture. When a Stradivarius violin owned by Dom Pedro II disappears, Bernhardt invites Shelock Holmes and Dr. Watson to Brazil in order to unravel the mystery.

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ZUZU ANGEL
2006, Sergio Rezende, 6.9
Drama / Biography

The last years of the famous Brazilian fashion designer in her doomed quest for justice in the case of her activist son Stuart’s arrest, torture, murder and subsequent corpse disposal by the military.


TV Shows I recommend

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FILHOS DO CARNAVAL
(Sons of Carnival)
2006-09, Cao Hamburger, etc, 7.8
Drama / Crime

The story of Anésio Gebara – the owner of a Samba School and banker of an illegal lottery called “Animal Lottery” – and his 4 sons.

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MANDRAKE
2005-12, José Henrique Fonseca, etc, 7.9
Drama / Crime

Mandrake works in the city as a lawyer that solves most cases in an unorthodox way. He is a passionate man who admires and loves women. Mandrake teams up with his partner Wexler and a friend who works in the police department to solve his cases.

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