All images from Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, 2019)

This review first appeared in May 2019 during the Cannes Film Festival. It has been slightly amended.

Two days into the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the Brazilian film Bacurau got me into a Twitter discussion with a Latin American critic and programmer who felt that certain films from certain countries get a bad response if they don’t conform to the stereotyped national image that foreign viewers are used to. I’m not sure that’s the case with this film, by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles: Bacurau seems to fit quite well with a familiar available image of Brazilianness, a certain effusive, sometimes violent and melodramatic amplitude that I don’t imagine will strike many people as altogether outside the known. What Bacurau certainly doesn’t do correspond to is expectations about the cinema of the better known…