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Sem Deus Sem Demônio (No Kings). 2020. Brazil. Directed by Emilia Mello. New York premiere. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 88 min.
Beyond sprawling highways and off the electrical grid, a remote fishing village in southeastern Brazil lives according to the rhythms of the sea. This Caiçara community, descended from Indigenous peoples, Europeans, and escaped African slaves, is one of the last of its kind. Emilia Mello’s first feature sensitively portrays a unique culture whose sustainable practices and alternative forms of kinship are threatened by deforestation and unbridled government-led development. Cocooned in fluid observations of daily life is the story of Lucimara, a fiery tomboy who leads the village kids in catching crabs—and draws Mello into the film itself. No Kings is a lovingly crafted ode to nature and the resistance of contemporary Indigenous life.
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