6th Gustavus Latinx Film Festival: Bacurau Posted on March 12th, 2023 by

On Monday, February 27th the 6th Gustavus Latinx Film Fest began with a showing of the 2019 Brazilian film, Bacurau. The event began with a few words from Professor Darío Sánchez González of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. He explained that the film takes place in a small, fictional town named Bacurau located in the northern countryside of Brazil, giving us a bit of context for the setting of the film. He also gave a brief content warning about the violence that would take place in the film. With that, we began watching.

Professor Sánchez González was very just in giving us a content warning. The violence and bloodshed that occurred throughout the plot of the film was quite alarming. Many, many people were killed, and some of these deaths took place before our very own eyes. However, it did not feel totally unjustified due to the nature of the content. The violence could be said to appropriately complement the economic inequality and systemic racism that plagued the film because in the end, it was necessary for the residents of Bacurau to defend themselves against the racist American “tourists” that came to wipe them out. The movie also had powerful themes of political power, gender, and community as the small town rallied against those who wished to see them extinguished.

At the conclusion of the film, Professor Sánchez González led a brief Question and Answer session about some of the main themes and plot points from the film. One of the questions that was asked was about the role of water in the film. The need for water was a major crisis in Bacurau because the river was blockedoff by the local government. The movie begins with a man driving a water truck and the arrival of outsiders is signaled when this truck is shot, and the water spills out. Professor Sánchez González’s response was that the water was an omen for the oppression that the people were facing and the consequences that would come from it. Another question that was asked was about the drug that was given to the town by the mayor, Tony Junior. The doctor in the town warned the residents that the drug was harmful for their health and that it was up to their own discretion to take it. Throughout the movie, we see some people ingest the pills that were delivered. Thus, in the end, once all the violence has taken place it makes you as a viewer wonder, was all the violence even real? Or were we influenced by a drug-induced perspective from the characters? In my opinion, this Q & A session provided further opportunities for deeper reflection and for exploration through the perspectives of other viewers.

Ultimately, although this movie was hard to watch, given both the  gory visual content and the heavy social content, I think that it was effective in portraying its message. Despite the fact that worldly evils such as racism, drastic economic disparity, and power-hungry politicians may look down upon small communities, they will not be erased without a fight.

Keely Schuck ’23





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