We save the best for last as the World Cup winds its way to Rio de Janeiro. We bring you the iconic stories of Brazil, with the movies that put its filmmakers on the map.
SBS Movies

5 Jun 2014 - 12:23 PM  UPDATED 16 Jul 2014 - 10:11 AM

Forbidden to Forbid

SBS 2: Saturday July 5, 11pm

A maverick medical student, Paolo, lives with his best friend Leon, a politically committed sociology student doing a study on slum kids. Leon has fallen hard for architecture student Leticia, who moves in with the boys and soon becomes Paulo’s forbidden object of desire. Paolo’s friendship with a cancer-stricken housemaid brings him into contact with Rio’s slums, where he discovers one of her sons, a CD street vendor, has been murdered by the police. Her younger son, an eyewitness, is targeted for death. When they decide to help the boy, the trio of friends are drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse.

Madame Sata

SBS 2: Sunday July 6, 11pm

The life and times of flamboyant, fiercely proud drag queen Joao Francisco dos Santos are brought to vivid life in Madame Sata. A legend of the clubs and slums of Brazil, he spent almost half of his life in prison – 10 of them for murder. He finds a release from the mean streets in his performance art, and proudly defies his homophobic attackers, telling them being a queen makes him no less of a man. 'Madame Sata' is our tour guide through the gritty dive bars, cabarets and prison cells of 1930s Rio’s underground.

Almost Brothers

SBS 2: Monday July 7, 11pm

Activist-turned-filmmaker Lucia Morat confronts racial inequality in this story of two friends from divergent backgrounds whose life options are determined for a large part by their – and Brazil’s – circumstances.  Told largely in flashback, explores the friendship of white, middle-class Miguel and black slum-dweller Jorge who forge relationship gels during a lengthy incarceration in the remote Ilha Grande prison (in which Morat was also incarcerated at that time). Political activist Miguel and petty thief Jorge’s time in the prison comes to determine their pathways in life; Miguel grows to become a senator and Jorge a Rio favela drug lord, who reunite behind bars. The plot plays out over 30 years, and tackles recurring themes of race and social justice.

Favela Rising

SBS 2: Tuesday July 8, 11pm

Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends, Anderson Sá is a former drug-trafficker who turns social revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro’s most feared slum. Through hip-hop music, the rhythms of the street, and Afro-Brazilian dance he rallies his community to counteract the violent oppression enforced by teenage drug armies and sustained by corrupt police.

Elite Squad

SBS 2: Wednesday July 9, 11pm

Rio de Janeiro’s 100-strong paramilitary squads – the BOPE – are ordered to clean up the city’s notorious favelas in preparation for a Papal visit. The visiting Pope has determined that he wants to sleep near the city’s slums, and the elite forces launch a siege on the highly armed gangs and drug dealers, so as to “give the pope a good night’s sleep”. This high energy film is a gritty exploration of an urban war zone, from the perspective of two ambitious lieutenants. It was awarded the 2008 Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Elite Squad 2: The Enemy Within

SBS 2: Thursday July 10, 11pm

A wildly successful follow up to the hit action thriller, we pick up over a decade on from the first film. The sequel depicts the BOPE’s brutal efficiency on a wider scale, in a story of a prison siege, and a drug cartel with links to Brazil’s ruling elite.

City of God

SBS 2: Friday July 11, 11pm

No Brazillian film season would be complete without Fernando Meirelles’ much imitated, never bettered masterpiece about life inside the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Often compared to Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, it depicts the full experience of life inside a favela – its violence, its danger, its sense of belonging and unity. A teen narrator, Rocket (Alexandre Rodrigues) is our guide, and Meirelles’ disorienting camera gives Rocket’s story the haste and attention that it warrants. 

City of Men

SBS 2: Saturday July 12, 11pm

A film adaptation of the popular Brazillian TV series of the same name, which followed the success of the film City of God.Best friends Acerola and Laranjinha live in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, having been raised by their single mothers. Revelations about each of their absent fathers threaten to turn the friends against each other just as a war breaks out between the rival gangs around them.

Once Upon a Time in Rio

SBS 2: Sunday July 13, 11pm

A Romeo And Juliet tale of star-crossed love plays out against the backdrop of Rio de Janeiro’s infamous social inequality. A Rio favela boy falls for a rich girl from Ipanema, but the lovebirds are not immune to the cycle of violence that curses the favelas. A weepie that registered with Brazillian audiences, it paints a familiar tale of doomed love against a gritty urban landscape.