Director Madiano Marcheti / 2021 / Brazil

In this Brazilian Gothic cri de coeur, the murder of a trans woman reverberates in the lives of the people around her.

Wearing the cloak of a thriller or a mystery, Madalena is actually something far more nuanced and unusual. The directorial debut of Madiano Marcheti, it’s an eerie and thought-provoking lament for a horrific reality: more trans people are murdered in Brazil than in any other country. Madalena herself haunts the film from the edges but, by design, is never present; nor do we witness any outcry. There are simply three loosely connected vignettes, each following a person connected to either Madalena or her death during its aftermath.

Shot in a rarely seen rural Brazil that Marcheti is intimately familiar with, this visually arresting elegy transports us to a place both shockingly mundane and ominously alien – one where the alarming murder rate has become barely noticeable background noise. Madalena’s absence in her own story is an indictment of that world and, infused with extraordinary power and quiet rage, Madalena is an appeal for a better one.

“Formally accomplished and thematically scathing, Madalena confronts the dehumanization caused by cowardice and indifference.” – The Film Stage

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