Occupations in resistance

BRAZIL: The story of radical street protests in Brazil told through the experiences of youngsters involved in a mass student democracy movement.
Nick Holdsworth
Journalist, writer, author, filmmaker and film and TV industry expert – Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.
Published date: April 11, 2019

Your Turn


Org: Espero tua (Re)volta)Country: Brazil

Your Turn, Eliza Capai’s third full-length documentary, weaves the stories of three young student activists to paint a picture of the background to the recent political convulsions in Brazil.

When Marcela Jesus, Nayara Souza, and Lucas ‘Koka’ Penteado first became involved in youth activism five or six years ago, corrupt, incompetent leftwing or social democratic parties at both the regional and national levels largely ran Brazil.

The spark for this mass student activism in 2013 – one that gradually re-emerged in the 30 years since the end of military dictatorship and the adoption of a democratic constitution – was the imposition of an unaffordable increase in public transport fares in Saõ Paulo.

[ntsu_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIA5N72zi4Q

Saõ Paulo is Brazil’s largest city – with an overall metro-regional population of more than 21 million – more than a quarter of which live in poverty. The fare hike represented a massive increase in costs for young people in the area’s poor shanty towns and neighbourhoods – the favelas – that house many of Brazil’s urban poor.

For families that often have to choose, as Marcela says, between «eating and paying the rent», access to entertainment, shops, and social life, is dependent on cheap bus and metro travel. Thus, a mass movement, demanding free transport, sprang up overnight.

Youthful optimism

The energy, enthusiasm, idealism – and indeed naivety – of the young protagonists the director marshals to tell this story in their own words and through their own experiences, gives hope for the future of a country where, just a couple of months before its international premiere at Berlinale’s Generation 14plus programme, inaugurated its first ever extreme right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Based on detailed interviews with many students and drawing on the dedicated work of other documentary filmmakers, including Caio Castor, Herinque Cataxo (of Jornalistas Livres) and Tiago Tambellis, Your Turn builds a picture of youthful optimism and the student movement’s many themes (LGBTQ rights, anti-racism, anti-sexism, horizontal decision-making) from the inside out.

Your turn Director: Eliza Capai Your turn Director: Eliza …

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