Bacurau is the name of a city in Brazilian hinterland whose inhabitants fight to survive a foreign invasion. The struggle of native populations for the right to remain on their land is a common motif not only in the history of cinema, as in classic Westerns, but also in Brazilian culture and history, In this article, Ikeda proposes that Bacurau’s originality lies in how it seeks to establish a balance between genre film and political cinema, eschewing the commodified exotic spectacle of Sérgio Rezende’s The Battle of Canudos (1997) and Glauber Rocha’s radical political allegory in Black God, White Devil (1964), in order to offer a more complex commentary on the current Brazilian historical moment.
The Ambiguities of Bacurau
Marcelo Ikeda is a lecturer in the Film Department at the Universidade Federal do Ceará (UFC), Brazil. He has a master’s degree in Communication from Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Brazil. His main area of research is Brazilian contemporary independent cinema. He is the author of Cinema de Garagem (2011, with Dellani Lima), Cinema brasileiro a partir da retomada (2015), among other books. He is also a curator, filmmaker, and film critic, who has contributed to the online journal Cinecasulofilia since 2004. For more information, see www.marceloikeda.com.
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Marcelo Ikeda; The Ambiguities of Bacurau. Film Quarterly 8 December 2020; 74 (2): 81–83. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.2.81
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