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The HeyUGuys World Cinema Index is an ongoing series of articles inspired by the best of world cinema. Each article will focus on a particular country, and we will recommend five films from the most impressive and promising leaders in that country’s cinema.

We began with a look at the heady influence of French cinema, followed this up with an examination of five vivid voices of a thriving and challenging cinematic emergence in Palenstine.

The third in our series takes us to Brazil, and Adam Lowes recommends five of the very best films to get you started on your way.

 

Elite Squad

 

Elite Squad (2008) / Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)

The most expensive Brazilian film ever made, Elite Squad focuses on the efforts of the Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE) the country’s heavily-armed, fascist-like special police squad and their mission to clean up the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Based on real events in the lead up to a visit from Pope John Paul II to Rio de Janeiro in 1997, José Padilha’s film isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s a fascinating and sometimes unflinchingly violent look into the lives of those sworn to vigorously uphold the law. Upon the film’s release, the filmmaker himself was greeted with threats by Rio’s drug lords, sued by the police and called to give testimony in court against his advisors.

Led by Captain Roberto Nascimento (a career-making turn by acclaimed Brazilian actor Wagner Moura) the police force are pushed to breaking limit with their mission, not helped by the scathing corruption further up the ranks. In follow-up, Nascimento now divorced and a Lieutenant Colonel in BOPE, takes on his superiors as the sequel broadens the scope, choosing instead to bring the political backdrop to centre stage. Padilha was unable to find the mainstream success he so thoroughly deserves with his limply received remake of Robocop early this year. Its Hollywood’s loss however, as its hard to imagine an adequate platform could be found to accommodate a filmmaker with the ability to balance the absorbing backroom power play with stylised bloodshed as skilfully as Padilha can.

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