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Film / Bacurau

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Do you wanna live or do you wanna die?

"Good afternoon, my friends of Bacurau!"

Bacurau (also known as Nighthawk) is a 2019 Brazilian western film that takes place in a fictional small village in the northeastern region of Brazil. The story follows Bacurau's habitants, their everyday struggles and how they react when a group of outsiders come to their village and disrupt their lives.

A partnership from directors Kleber Mendonça Filho (Neighboring Sounds, Aquarius) and Juliano Dornelles, starring Sônia Braga, Udo Kier, Barbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira, Karine Teles, Antonio Saboia, Lia de Itamaracá and Wilson Rabelo, among other non-Brazilian actors.


Bacurau provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Invoked with Domingas. She's first shown drunk enough to rant about Carmelita's funeral, but after Teresa points out how she can be different when she's sober, we never see her drinking or under the effect again.
  • Asshole Victim: The biker couple. Not only did they kill two locals to protect the hunting party's secret, but they also showed nothing but contempt towards Bacurau and its people, so it's hard to feel sorry for them when they're given the same treatment by the American hunters and then killed by them.
  • Author Tract: As most of Kleber Mendonça Filho's films, this one carries a series of left-wing messages about social disparities, insatisfaction with corrupt politicians and xenophobia (inside and outside of Brazil).
  • Ax-Crazy: While being willing to hunt and kill other human beings and seeing a faraway foreign village as expendable and "savage" is already a very wrong thing, Joshua and Julia are a little too happy about it and treat the whole deal almost as if they were playing video games. Michael is a lot more calm than them, but still shoots one of his own team, for no more reason than having an itchy trigger finger.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: At first, we're led to believe that Domingas would be a religious zealot, due to her drunken ranting during Carmelita's funeral. Later on, she apologizes to Plínio, Carmelita's son, in front of the whole village, while explaining why the medicine brought by the mayor is very dangerous and should be ignored, and shows a more leveled, caring side of hers that sticks throughout the rest of the film. Teresa even lampshades it, saying that she's a sweetie when she's not drunk.
  • Blood Knight: Joshua, and possibly Julia.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Damiano uses a bacamarte to blow Willy's head off.
  • The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: Michael is guilty of stereotyping Brazil to the point of being too stereotypical himself. First, he asks the Southern bikers "not to speak Brazilian". And when he tries to speak to Domingas, he uses "hombre" and "mujer", which are Spanish words.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: The village loses its phone signal around the time that things really start going downhill. We don't see what happened, but obviously the Americans or their "local agents" pulled a plug.
  • Cool Old Lady: Domingas.
  • Curse Cut Short: When the Southern bikers kill Flavio and Maciel.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Michael, despite being a hunter of other human beings, states that he doesn't kill women. Terry comes across as this, when he points out that Joshua killed an unarmed boy, but ultimately it's a subversion, when he revealed that, after his divorce, he actually thought about killing his ex-wife.
  • Flying Saucer: Subverted. About half an hour into the film we see a flying saucer flying overhead, but shortly afterwards an old man says "I saw a drone. It looked like a flying saucer from an old movie, but it was a drone."
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Damiano and his wife when there's an attempt to ambush them.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Julia and Jake immediately take off their clothes and start having sex out of excitement after killing a runaway couple .
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The "tourists" have come for this.
  • Irony: Joshua gloats that he and the hunting party only use vintage firearms to hunt. But the guns that the people of Bacurau use to fight back are even older.
  • Kick the Dog: Michael's "code" may not allow for killing women, but a stray dog is fair game for target practice.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The opening credits say "North East Brazil, a few years from now." The technology that we see isn't very far ahead of 2019, but there seems to have been a minor social breakdown.
  • Oh, Crap!: One of the "tourists" searches through the town museum, seeing a room entirely filled with animal traps and pictures of people holding guns... then enters the next room, where there's a completely blank wall only faintly showing the sunbleached outlines of a Wall of Weapons.
  • Posthumous Character: Carmelita.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Plínio and Domingas, due to their age and knowledge, act as informal leaders of Bacurau. It's hinted that Carmelita might have been a person of some authority too.
  • Red Baron: DJ Urso, a Pancada do Araripe (DJ Bear, Araripe's Hit).
  • Same Language Dub: An unusual variant - the theatrical and most common print has the foreigners speaking English. And yet there is another version where they speak dubbed Portuguese!
  • Shout-Out: The town school is the "Prof. Joāo Carpinteiro" school, an obvious reference to John Carpenter. The film also uses some of his music.
  • Sleazy Politician: Tony Junior, Serra Verde's Mayor. Made worse when we find out that he was the one who made a deal with Michael and co. to hunt down the inhabitants of Bacurau.
  • That Man Is Dead: Acácio tries to put his past as "Pacote", an accomplished killer, behind him, but when he asked for Lunga's help, Lunga promptly asked him if he "would be Pacote once again".
  • Un-person: The inhabitants of Bacurau discover their village has vanished from online maps. This was done by the foreigners so outside forces couldn't exactly pinpoint\trace the incoming massacre.
  • The Unreveal: We never find out who is coordinating the game the foreign hunters are playing (though both Michael and Tony Junior hint that whoever is behind the hunt game will come after Bacurau and its people once they find out about the execution of the foreign hunters).
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Subverted with Lunga. He is a criminal, but never acted against the people of Bacurau. While he's regarded as a criminal outside of Bacurau, the people inside the village not only hold him in high regard, but also greet him and his gang with open arms with food and follow his lead as soon as he arrives when Pacote begs for his help. This case also applies to Pacote, to some extent, as he's trying to reform.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Joshua.

Maria: People born in Bacurau is called what?
Horácio: People!

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