Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl!

Director: Felipe Bragança
Screenwriters: Felipe Bragança

Institute History

  • 2017 Sundance Film Festival


On the turbulent border of modern-day Brazil and Paraguay, a war is brewing between rival gangs on either side. Caught in the middle of it all, Brazilian 13-year-old Joca has fallen in love with Basano, a spirited indigenous Paraguayan girl, and is determined to win her over regardless of the consequences. Even as Joca’s brother Fernando becomes heavily embroiled in the hostilities, and Basano is threatened by the unwanted affections of an older boy in her village, Joca is forced to confront where his own loyalties lie.

Felipe Bragança’s first solo-directed feature is a magnificently layered, surreal fairy tale addressing the very real colonial oppression and strife that defined the region’s history and still lingers today. Mixing professional and nonprofessional actors in three languages, Don’t Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! tackles its ambitions head-on, shaping Bragança’s alluring vision of a dreamscape haunted by violence where young love struggles to take root.

— A.S.

Screening Details

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