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The Edge of Democracy


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.

YEAR 2019

CATEGORY World Cinema Documentary Competition


RUN TIME 113 min

LANGUAGE Portuguese

SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles

COMPANY Violet Films

EMAIL info@violet-films.com


Co Screenwriters
Script Collaboration
Director Of Photography

Artist Bio

Petra Costa

Petra Costa is a Brazilian filmmaker whose work encompasses both fiction and nonfiction. Her first film, Elena, premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and was called a “cinematic dream” by the New York Times and a “masterful debut” by IndieWire. Her second film, Olmo and the Seagull, premiered at the Festival del film Locarno. Her most recent film, The Edge of Democracy, is a poetic telling of the birth and erosion of Brazilian democracy.