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Bacurau poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
  • Kleber Mendonça Filho
  • Juliano Dornelles
Music by
  • Mateus Alves
  • Tomaz Alves Souza
CinematographyPedro Sotero
Edited byEduardo Serrano
Distributed by
  • Vitrine Filmes (Brazil)
  • SBS Distribution (France)
Release date
  • 15 May 2019 (2019-05-15) (Cannes)
  • 29 August 2019 (2019-08-29) (Brazil)
  • 25 September 2019 (2019-09-25) (France)
Running time
132 minutes
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Portuguese
  • English
Box office$3.4 million[1]

Bacurau (Portuguese for 'nightjar') is a 2019 Weird Western film[2] directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles.[3] It stars Sônia Braga, Udo Kier, Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira and Karine Teles. The film, a co-production between Brazil and France,[4][5] revolves around Bacurau, a fictional small town in the Brazilian sertão, which is beset by strange happenings following the death of its matriarch at the age of 94.

It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival,[6] and won the Jury Prize.[7][8]


  • Sônia Braga as Domingas
  • Udo Kier as Michael
  • Bárbara Colen as Teresa
  • Thomas Aquino as Pacote / Acacio
  • Silvero Pereira as Lunga
  • Thardelly Lima as Tony Jr.
  • Rubens Santos as Erivaldo
  • Wilson Rabelo as Plinio
  • Carlos Francisco as Damiano
  • Luciana Souza as Isa
  • Karine Teles as Foreigner
  • Julia Marie Peterson as Julia


In the near future, the people of Bacurau, a fictional settlement in the also fictional municipality of Serra Verde, in western Pernambuco, witness a series of unusual events, including telephone signals going down, the settlement unexplainably disappearing from online maps, flying saucer-shaped drones chasing travelers and a couple of mountain bikers from Rio de Janeiro passing by.

When dozens of horses show up in town, two men are sent to investigate the nearby farm from where they presumably escaped and find out the whole family murdered. As they leave the property, they are executed by the couple.

The couple rendezvous with a group of foreigners lead by Michael (Udo Kier) and are reprehended for killing the two men, since killing will allow the foreigners to score "points". After receiving unheard instructions through earpieces, the foreigners execute the couple and argue over who did the killing and is entitled to more points.

As the death toll rises, Pacote (Thomas Aquino) deduces the town will be attacked and leads efforts to prepare the people to defend themselves. When the foreigners arrive, they are all killed by the locals, except for Michael, who ends up captured. Soon after the battle, Tony Junior (Thardelly Lima), Serra Verde's mayor and persona non grata in Bacurau, comes to town and Michael calls his name; Tony denies knowing him. The mayor is sent away half-naked and tied up to a donkey while Michael is buried alive in an underground cell while shouting that "this is only the beginning".



Bacurau was filmed in the village of Barra in the municipality of Parelhas and in the rural area of the municipality of Acari, at the Sertão do Seridó region, in Rio Grande do Norte.[9]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 139 reviews, with an average rating of 7.72/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Formally thrilling and narratively daring, Bacurau draws on modern Brazilian sociopolitical concerns to deliver a hard-hitting, genre-blurring drama."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "Universal acclaim".[11]


It was released by Vitrine Filmes in Brazil and SBS Distribution in France. Its North American release was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting the distributor Kino-Lorber to seek alternate means. It created a "virtual cinema" distribution model in which it partnered with some 150 independent theaters in North America. The first run of the film streams in an exclusive limited release window through the theatre's websites. Kino-Lorber shares the revenues with the theatres.[12]


  1. ^ "Bacurau". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Bacurau first look: a way out weird western for menacing times". British Film Institute. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  3. ^ "The Screenings Guide 2019". 9 May 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Bacurau". Cineuropa. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  5. ^ Barlow, Helen (6 June 2019). "'Bacurau' Filmmakers on Pulling Inspiration from Brazil's Broken System | Cannes 2019". Collider. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Cannes festival 2019: full list of films". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Bong Joon-ho's Parasite Wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes". Variety. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Bong Joon-ho's Parasite wins Palme d'Or at Cannes film festival". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Sessão especial de 'Bacurau' em Parelhas emociona moradores da cidade". G1 (in Portuguese). 23 August 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  10. ^ "Nighthawk (Bacurau) (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Bacurau Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  12. ^ Bramesco, Charles (30 March 2020). ""Virtual cinemas" aim to take US arthouse theaters online – and into the future". Little White Lies. TCOLondon Publishing. Retrieved 2 April 2020.

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