As Rio de Janeiro emerges from the global pandemic, 9 December 2021, saw the return of its premiere annual film event with the opening of the 23rd Festival do Rio, Rio International Film Festival with the Brazilian premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers. Festival do Rio returns this year with the full support of the Mayor and city of Rio de Janeiro, as well as live audiences
“Our mission,” the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, explains “is to re-build Rio’s role in the audiovisual sector and strengthen the sector with investment, which we have already started to do. Rio as a city depends a lot on culture, as it helps to build the history and identity of our city and our people. Festival do Rio is one of the pillars of our renaissance on both the national and world stage.”
From 9 to 19 December 2021 the cinema going public in Rio de Janeiro has the opportunity to see both international and domestic Brazilian films. They include award-winners, some of the years most talked about and commented on productions, and rarities from the archives. The public also get to participate in debates, special sessions and lectures.
Navigating its way back after an absent year, this year’s edition is a compact one, with 25 centre-pieces with sights on returning to a full-length edition in 2022 and new banner sponsors.
Première Brasil remains one of the most anticipated and popular sections of the festival, and the main competitive section that offers an important shop window for Brazilian cinema both internationally and domestically. Première Brasil also gives the audiences in Rio the chance to see the films and then meet and talk with the filmmakers and actors. The public also votes for the best film in the categories of fiction, documentary and short, while an official jury awards the festival’s Redentor trophy across a diverse range of categories from the films in official competition. In total 71 Brazilian films drawn from features and shorts will screen across Rio in the Première Brasil section during the festival
“This year’s selection,” says festival director Ilda Santiago,”shows a strong Brazilian cinema, full of reflection which, despite far from ideal conditions, is ready to reclaim its place with the cinema going public.”
Among international highlights this year are Joe Wright’s Cyrano and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, both of which are receiving their Brazilian premieres. Also screening are this year’s Palme d’Or winner, Julia Ducournau’s Titane; along with Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman; Radu Jude’s winner of Berlin’s Golden Bear, Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn; Apichatpong Weerasethakul Memoria; Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta; Andrea Arnold’s Cow; Nanni Moretti’s Three Floors; and Woody Allen’s most recent offering, Rifkin’s Festival, that premiered during the recent San Sebastian Film Festival.
Brazilian directors with films screening during Festival do Rio include Júlio Bressane, Karim Aïnouz, Bruno Barreto, Luiz Carlos Lacerda, Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, Luiz Carlos Lacerda, Murilo Salles, Laís Bodanzky, and many others.
The work of Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai will be in the spotlight with the screening of five of the director’s most acclaimed films that have been restored by the director in partnership with MUBI. The festival also celebrates the 70th anniversary of the French film magazine “Cahiers du Cinéma” with the screening of some classic French works from Louis Malle, Robert Bresson, Chris Marker, Eric Rohmer, René Laloux, Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard and Costa-Gavras, as well as an exhibition of the magazine.