‘Bacurau’ Review: How This Brazilian Film Took Home the Cannes Jury Prize

The Cannes Film Festival is a mixed bag. You’ll never know which films in the many selections are going to have a long-lasting impact. Some movies that critics love don’t live up to their initial reception. They neither win awards outside Cannes or get their box office break. 

But there’s something special about this year’s Jury Prize winner Bacurau. It’s a blend of various genres — making it hard to describe with a single word. Yet despite its odd look, it has the potential to be a cult classic.

‘Bacurau’ Review: How This Brazilian Film Took Home the Cannes Jury Prize

Nearly as Good as ‘Parasite’

This year’s Cannes Film Festival was great. Everyone felt the love for the late French filmmaker Agnes Varda. Likewise, the movie offers were promising. The opening film The Dead Don’t Die was neither a critical or box office success. But the award-winning proved their worth.

In this festival, the two biggest awards are the Palme d’Or and the Jury Prize. Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite won the former, which meant that he was the first-ever Korean to bag the award. On the other hand, Bacurau was the latter’s recipient.

Did the festival make the right decision? We believe so. But this doesn’t mean Bacurau is a significantly inferior film. If Parasite wasn’t around, we wouldn’t mind it getting the top prize. 

Nearly as Good as ‘Parasite’

Why? Both films offer a unique view. They give Western viewers a unique look into the cultures and issues surrounding South Korea and Brazil, respectively. Plus, they blend scathing social commentary with a story even the average filmgoer will appreciate.

Tarantino Would Be Proud

Despite its strangeness, Bacurau feels familiar. It’s not hard to see why people describe it as a Tarantino film. For one, the Brazilian movie has a fantastic set of oddball characters. They all look different yet it’s easy to see that they belong in the titular faraway town.

There’s this urge to want to know more about each character. From Teresa to Pacote, it feels like their stories can serve as other movies. These characters give life to the lonesome town — filling it with fun, sensuality, and craziness.

Tarantino Would Be Proud

Bacurau doesn’t rush the story. Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ movie gives us enough time to learn more about the community. In a way, the town itself is a character. There’s a rich yet largely unknown history behind it. It keeps us wondering why these people want to stay and protect this place.ace.

A Fun and Bloody Ride

Speaking of crazy, Bacurau excels in this aspect. Right from the start, the viewer gets a peek of what’s about to happen later on. We see several coffins on the road due to a traffic accident. Things don’t connect early on, but the satisfyingly bloody payoff pays for the ticket.

Some might think the acting is off for some characters — but it feels deliberate. There’s this sense of conscious decision-making. It’s as if the actors were told to speak as if they were in a typical Hollywood horror-action B movie.

A Fun and Bloody Ride

Lastly, Bacurau doesn’t overextend its stay. While it is a little over two hours long, the movie doesn’t feel like a drag. It keeps us mindful of the political and local context while delivering the visual intensity. It’s not going to be a breakout hit. But Bacurau will earn a decent following in the years to come.