When Bacurau (dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, 2019) was released in Brazil, it was mainly received as a left-wing critique of the rise of the far right in the country’s political landscape. But some critics argued that the feature’s insistence on graphic violence was actually a celebration of barbarism, equating the oppressed villagers to their genocidal oppressors. This article refutes this view, borrowing from the analysis of science-fiction revenge fantasies and also following Foucault’s genealogical perspective. It argues that Bacurau actually reenacts Brazil’s foundational colonial violence through its complex temporality, in order to rediscover the forgotten past of real struggles that remain surreptitiously inserted in all levels of society, perhaps in the hope that new ways of resistance may flourish from its spectatorial experience.
Bacurau as Science-Fiction Revenge Fantasy
Jocimar Dias Jr. is a doctoral candidate in Film Studies at Universidade Federal Fluminense (PPGCine-UFF), Brazil. His dissertation is dedicated to queer readings of the carnival musicals directed by Watson Macedo in the 1950s. He directed the short film Essay About My Mother (2014), which was screened in several film festivals. He is one of the editors of Revista Moventes (revistamoventes.com).
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Jocimar Dias; Bacurau as Science-Fiction Revenge Fantasy. Film Quarterly 8 December 2020; 74 (2): 84–86. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.2.84
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