Skip to content
Plakat, Boalandia, Mathias Reitz Zausinger, 2024 resistance film feature Brazil
BOALÂNDIA is a feature length documentary by Mathias Reitz Zausinger and Patrik Thomas (©2024). The film documents the cultural resistance in the peripheries of Brazil. The protagonists of the film fight for visibility with the means of art and raise their voices against discrimination, police violence, racism and homophobia.
For three years, the filmmakers worked and lived with the collectives and activists, accompanying them in the Amazon rainforest, at protests in the capitals and in the subcultures of Brazilian metropolises.
Filmmaking, as a narrative form as much as a process of archiving, has a special political significance in cultural resistance to structural violence. BOALÂNDIA is a snapshot of our generation, of political dedication and vivid diversity.

Four years ago we started making a film about filmmaking. We were captured by the power of vivid diversity.

After many months of research in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on the culture and relevance of street cinema, which is enourmously vivid in Brazil, Patrik and I decided to make a film about this activism. Street cinema here, in Brazil, means giving a voice to the marginalized, a sillouhette to structural violence and, above all, the space to each one‘s ideas of an utopian and better future. Filmmaking itself is a space in which shared dreams can mature and become contagious.

But making this film also means documenting social realities that are blind spots in common view of the public realm of Brazil‘s society. Like the illegal clearing of the rainforest inside or on the borders of the terras indígenas or the police violence in the favelas. Working with the collectives, I have witnessed stirring moments and heard many touching stories. The last few years have been full of encounters and shared moments with the people who have become our friends. People who represent the self-confidence of an aware and young generation with their voice, expression and verve on improvised stages.

Many scenes of our film were created in collaboration and close exchange, with shared skills and shared equipment. From this a momentum has developed and we have become part of a network of political resistance. This momentum led us away from observing street cinemas to different encounters. We began to see through the eyes of our protagonists.
Along the way, many questions arise about the right perspective, the right framing, and the right images. What does it mean to shoot a film in Brazil, in the favelas, in the Amazon and in the peripheries as Europeans? How do we do justice to the people who are fighting for their causes with all means at their disposal? What stage do we give to their voices? What do we owe them? How do we deal with our responsibility? How do we deal with the hope and anger projected onto us?

By being sensitive to the importance of our initially alien gaze, the film and the whole project necessarily became part of a process that we thought we were only observing. Boalândia necessarily became a political film that takes a stand for the power of lived and embodied diversity. An utopian gaze that doesn‘t show the power of the movement by showing the misery it is fighting against.

Filmmaking is a dream factory but also a tool of historiography. Boalândia tries to be both.

© 2024