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From hope to defeat, filmmaker brings Brazilian political crisis to Netflix

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"The film is a portrait of the Brazilian political crisis in the first person and, in a certain way, a fable of our times," said the director, Petra Costa

Trailer screenshot '' On the edge of democracy ''

In the latest shots of her documentary "The Edge of Democracy", which was launched on June 19 on Netflix, Brazilian film director Petra Costa asks about how to deal with the vertigo of a future that seems darker than the past.

Leer en español: De la esperanza a la derrota, cineasta lleva crisis política brasileña a Netflix

"Where do we get the strength to walk among the ruins and start over?" Says the director in a calm and deep voice, while aerial images show the monumental avenues of Brasilia as the scene of the political disputes that divided her country in the last years.

"The film is a portrait of the Brazilian political crisis in the first person and, in a certain way, a fable of our times", said Costa in a telephone interview with Reuters before the release of her film, which was received with good reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, on the streaming platform.

The documentary, called "Democracia em Vertigem", in Portuguese, and "Al filo de la Democracia", in Spanish, drew a line between the hopeful arrival to power of Lula in 2003, the big street protests of 2013, the dismissal of the former president Dilma Rousseff and the presidential election of Jair Bolsonaro.

"Democracy is in crisis not only in Brazil but in the world, and I hope that the documentary can rescue dialogue and confidence in the fundamental values of democracy," added the director, who was born two years before the end of the military regime in her country (1964-85).

Daughter of militants of the left who opposed the dictatorship and with right-wing family tradition, Costa explores the fissures and contradictions of the historical processes in a personal way, taking Rousseff's political judgment as a starting point in 2016.

"I started to develop that idea of a citizen's relationship with democracy itself," said the director. "I thought it would be a starting point to connect people outside of Brazil with what I was telling, I think the whole world went through a similar crisis at a very similar time."

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The documentary interviewed former president Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva, now imprisoned for corruption, and Rousseff, whom she said she got know better through her own mother since both share a past as militants in the years of the military dictatorship.

"I saw a lot of my mother in Dilma and I could understand Dilma a lot through my mother, so I think I insisted on trying to access facets that she did not show easily," said the director, known for Olmo & la Gaviota ( 2015) and Elena (2012).

The film also focuses on the corruption plot revealed by the Lava Jato investigation, which shook the entire political class and even touched members of the director's family, founders of one of the big companies involved in the scandal.

Petra Costa says that there are still no answers to the questions she poses in her documentary, although she is certain that crises can unleash "great epiphanies". "Brazil has a huge opportunity to evolve," she said.

 

Reuters | Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

Translated from "De la esperanza a la derrota, cineasta lleva crisis política brasileña a Netflix"

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