Brazilian cinema at the 2016 Chicago International Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival (CIFF) has been a reliable source of Brazilian cinema in the Midwest. This year the flow slowed down to a crawl — two full-length films and one short. But while quantity is lacking, quality isn’t.

Where I Grow Old (A Cidade onde Envelheço)

Teresa, a 25-year-old Portuguese woman, moves in with her best friend, Francisca, who had long settled in  Brazil’s third biggest city, Belo Horizonte. The women are soon torn between their homeland and their adoptive country.

This Luso-Brazilian coproduction marks award-winning documentarian Marília Rocha’s feature film debut. Rocha, who hails from Brazil’s Goiás state,  bounced back and forth between Portugal and Belo Horizonte herself; she’s the co-founder of the film collective Anavilha, and the expat experience has been a key focus of her work.

Where I Grow Old hasn’t yet made it to Brazilian theaters; it screened at the 2016 International Film Festival Rotterdam and Munich International Film Festival and is having its U.S. debut at CIFF.

Elis

More than 34 years after her death from an accidental overdose, Brazilians still can’t get enough of Elis Regina, considered by many the country’s all-time greatest singer. Andreia Horta, best known for her telenovela work, embodies Regina in this biopic that debuted recently at the Gramado International Film Festival. She took voice lessons and got her hair cropped for the role, and was rewarded with the Best Actress award at Gramado for the effort.

Brazilian cinema at the 2016 Chicago International Film Festival

Brazilian cinema at the 2016 Chicago International Film Festival

Brazilian cinema at the 2016 Chicago International Film Festival

Despite receiving a standing ovation at Gramado, the film didn’t get the festival’s top award — but it’s guaranteed to be a huge box office hit when it hits Brazilian theaters in November, and to

Delusion Is Redemption to Those in Distress (O Delírio é a Redenção dos Aflitos)

Raquel (Nash Laila), a young woman living in Olinda, struggles to maintain her grip while coping with the pressure of relocating her family before their building is torn down. Thales Junqueira, responsible for the art direction in some of Brazil’s most celebrated recent films (The Second Mother, Aquarius) sat in the director’s chair for the first time to shoot this 21-minute short that debuted at the Cannes 2016 Short Films competition.

CIFF 2016 runs from Oct. 13-27. Visit the festival’s website for more.

Written by Sergio Barreto

Brazilian-American editor, web developer and (occasional) event promoter. As founder and content director for this site, I keep an eye on what's wrong with Brazil, but what really makes my heart beat faster is sharing the exciting things happening in Brazilian tech, music, film, and other creative industries.

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