The Edge of Democracy

Director: Petra Costa
Screenwriters: Petra Costa

Institute History

  • 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Description

Once a nation crippled by military dictatorship, Brazil found its democratic footing in 1985 and then, in 2002, elected a hugely popular political disrupter: steel-worker-turned-activist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Under his watch, 20 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty, and his country rose to international prominence. In 2010, “Lula” passed the presidential baton to his prodigy, a fierce female guerrilla named Dilma Rousseff.

But beneath their sunny legacy, rumblings of populist rage and institutional corruption seeped into the mainstream—much of it abetted by a partisan judge who fed news outlets sensational, deeply flawed corruption reports that targeted Lula, Dilma, and anyone else who refused to scratch the backs of powerful politicians and special-interest groups.

With remarkably intimate access, The Edge of Democracy follows Brazil’s embattled leaders as they grapple with a scandal born out of their country’s fascist past and inflamed by a furious and ideologically divided nation. Like a great Greek tragedy, Petra Costa’s film carries a potent warning: Brazil’s crisis is one that is shared—and fomented—by Western superpowers run by equally treacherous political forces.


— H.V.

Screening Details

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