Edge of Democracy. 2019. Brazil. Directed by Petra Costa. 121 min.
The child of antiauthoritarian activists, director Petra Costa was born the year before Brazil’s longstanding military dictatorship fell. Costa has been a spectator of Brazil’s attempts to establish a strong democracy her entire life, and as she explains, has recently witnessed an unprecedented sea change in the nation’s perception of politics and corruption. Expertly weaving personal home movie excerpts with deeply researched archival material, as well as her own journalistic footage from the last several years, Costa assembles a diligent overview of the turbulent politics of Brazil since 2010. The election of Jair Bolsonaro looms as the film traces the election and eventual impeachment of the country’s first female president, Dilma Rouseff, and the persecution of beloved Workers Party founder and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Costa’s unflinching, lyrical narration is equally informative and reflective, capturing the dense and tenuous nature of contemporary political movements.