Brazilian director Petra Costa‘s new documentary The Edge of Democracy looks to give audiences a crash course in Brazilian politics, as well as show the growing divide in the country.
As Costa herself says, “Brazilian democracy and I are almost the same age.” At just nineteen, we see a smiling Costa cast her ballot in the groundbreaking election for Brazil’s President. The winner of that election was Lula da Silva, a beloved official who turned Brazil around, dropping poverty to its lowest point and, as President Obama says in the trailer, becoming the most popular politician in the world. But this goodwill isn’t retained for long, as da Silva chooses Dilma Rousseff, the nation’s first female President, to succeed him.
“Something in our social fabric started to change,” Costa says, and from there the trailer lets us bear witness to the rift between the two parties that would crop up in da Silva’s wake. Anyone who has followed the headlines over the last several years knows what comes next: a massive corruption scandal involving millions of dollars in kickbacks and nearly 100 politicians and members of the business elite. Allegations of fraud, slavery, and homicide are mentioned as images of fireworks, smoke bombs, and heavy police intervention is shown. Is the democracy in Brazil “a short-lived dream?”
The Edge of Democracy looks incredibly timely, especially for those living in the United States. The situation in Brazil is as fascinating as it is terrifying and based off the trailer Costa appears to have a front-row view.
The Edge of Democracy premieres on Netflix June 19.