"> Movies – Petra Costa

Movies

The Edge of Democracy

Documentary | 121’ | color | DCP | Brazil | 2019

A cautionary tale for these times of democracy in crisis – the personal and political fuse to explore one of the most dramatic periods in Brazilian history. Combining unprecedented access to leaders past and present, including Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, with accounts of her own family’s complex political and industrial past, filmmaker Petra Costa (ELENA) witnesses their rise and fall and the tragically polarized nation that remains.

Olmo and the Seagull

Documentary | 82’ | cor | DCP | Brazil, Denmark and Portugal | 2015

A journey through the labyrinth of a woman’s mind, OLMO AND THE SEAGULL tells the story of Olivia, a free-spirited stage actress preparing for a starring role as Arkadina in a theatrical production of Chekhov’s The Seagull. As the play starts to take shape, Olivia and her boyfriend, Serge, whom she first met on the stage of the Theatre du Soleil, discover she is pregnant.

Initially, she thinks she can have it all, until an unexpected setback threatens her pregnancy and brings her life to a standstill. Olivia’s desire for freedom and success clashes with the limits imposed by her own body and the baby growing inside her. The months of her pregnancy unfold as a rite of passage, forcing the actress to confront her deepest fears. She looks in the mirror and sees both female characters of The Seagull – Arkadina, the aging actress, and Nina, the actress that falls into madness – as unsettling reflections of herself.

The film takes a further twist when what appears to be acted is revealed as life itself. This portrait of the creative process invites us to question what is real, what is imagined, and what we celebrate and sacrifice in life.

Elena

Documentary | 82’ | color | 35mm DCP | Brazil | 2013

Elena, a young Brazilian woman, moves to New York with the same dream as her mother: to become a movie actress. She leaves behind her childhood spent in hiding during the years of the military dictatorship. She also leaves Petra, her seven-year-old sister. Two decades later, Petra also becomes an actress and heads to New York. At first in search of her destiny, but increasingly, in search of Elena, Petra has only a few clues: home movies, newspaper clippings, a diary and some letters.

Gradually, the features of the two sisters are confused; we no longer know one from the other. When Petra finally finds Elena in an unexpected place, she has to learn to let her go. ELENA is a film about the persistence of those memories, the irreversibility of that loss, and the impact the absence of her sister had on the seven-year-old girl.

From executive producers Tim Robbins and Fernando Meirelles, one of the most successful documentaries of all time in Brazil now comes to America. Intimate in style, ELENA delves into the abyss of one family’s drama, revealing at once the inspiration that can be born from tragedy.

Undertow Eyes

Short Documentary | 20’ | color | Brazil | 2009

Vera and Gabriel have been married for sixty years. In Undertow Eyes they wander about their own history: the first flirt, the birth of their children, life and aging. In this remembrance, images from their family collection mingle with images of the present, weaving an emotional and dreamlike universe. As a mosaic of stories and impressions, this short film looks like a personal and existential diary about love and death.