Apart from being a beautiful language, Portuguese is also one of those languages that are not spoken in a limited geographical area. The best thing about such languages is that they allow you to cover more ground when it comes to international cinema. It is the official language of six countries, no matter how small, and that means more films for us cinephiles. Thus, for viewers willing to expand their reach and explore films from foreign countries, Portuguese offers quite a sprawling collection of films in all genres, and Netflix houses some of the best movies in this category.
13. Burning Betrayal (2023)
Directed by Diego Freitas, ‘Burning Betrayal’ is based on Sue Hecker’s novel ‘O Lado Bom de Ser Traída’ (The Good Side of Being Betrayed) and follows Babi who decides to change herself and her life after being betrayed by her long-time partner/fiancé. She dyes her hair black, puts on a new appearance, and joins a biker gang. After this she gets sexually involved with judge Marco, the leader of the gang, who is living in a paradox, obsessed with truth but living in a mystery. Will Babi’s quest for sexual awakening be able to permeate Marco’s paradox? To find out, you can watch ‘Burning Betrayal’ right here.
12. Just Short of Perfect (2021)
A remake of the Argentinian film ‘Lion’s Heart’ (2013), ‘Just Short of Perfect’ is directed by Ale McHaddo. It shows an unusual couple going through the ups and downs of customized relationship issues. We have Ivana Taveres, a newly divorced attorney, who falls for Ricardo Leon, a short (shorter than usual) widowed doctor, and vice versa. While both are madly in love with each other, it becomes evident that people’s opinions are bent on pointing out why they won’t work out. Will Ivana and Ricardo be able to prove the people wrong? To find out, you can watch this comedy right here.
11. Jonas (2015)
Set in Sao Paulo, ‘Jonas’ (‘Portuguese: ‘Jonah’) tells the story of a boy and a girl who’ve been in love with each other since childhood. Despite their mutual attraction, they have been kept apart by social barriers. Years later, they reunite at a carnival and discover that whatever their current predicament might be, they still love each other. During the carnival, the boy does something awful and needs to run away to keep himself safe. The girl is in danger by association, so he kidnaps her. With only each other in their sights, hiding in a place where no one will even think of looking, the boy and the girl have to decide what it is they want from each other. The cast includes Laura Neiva, Jesuíta Barbosa, Paulo Américo and Ana Cecília Costa. You may watch the film here.
10. Jefe (2018)
Directed by Sergio Barrejón, ‘Jefe’ is a comedy movie that centers on an egocentric businessman who has everything. But as life can give, it can also take back. The guy loses almost everything overnight, from his wife to his peers to his company’s stocks. With a week to solve his issues, including a financial discrepancy, he has to find a way out but doesn’t know how. This is when Ariana, the cleaning lady on the night shift, arrives to take charge and help him. How? Well, for that, you have to watch the movie. The cast of ‘Jefe’ includes Juana Acosta as Ariana and Luis Callejo as César, with Adam Jezierski and Dalila Carmo in supporting roles. Feel free to check out the movie here.
9. The Little Switzerland (2019)
Directed by Kepa Sojo, ‘The Little Switzerland’ (‘La pequeña Suiza’) is a comedy movie that deals with a sensitive political topic and yet manages to add an apt amount of humor to it, making it a wonderful watch. It is set in the fictional town of Tellería in the autonomous Castilla-León community in Spain. The townsfolk have, time and again, failed to convince the Basque Country government to let them change their community and accept them in Basque. As this struggle continues, the discovery of the tomb of the son of a very popular Swiss hero from legends makes the people shift their motivation and try to make Switzerland, instead of Basque, accept Tellería. The question is, does it have what it requires to be a Swiss community? The cast of this incredible movie includes Maggie Civantos, Ingrid García-Jonsson, and Pêpê Rapazote. You can check out the film here.
8. Double Dad (2021)
Having a father is great, but how cool can having two fathers be? ‘Double Dad’ proves that it doesn’t have to be bad and can be a lot of fun. Directed by Cris D’Amato, the movie tells the story of Vicenza, who hits 18 and decides to look for her father after being unable to convince her mother, with whom she lives happily. She thus sneaks out when her mother is away and decides to search for her father, only to find two men who couldn’t be any more different from each other, one of whom is her parent. As she begins to bond with them, the situation gets more complicated. Whether she is finally able to find out her real father and, if yes, then how she deals with it is what we find out in the movie. The cast includes Maisa Silva as Vicenza, with Pedro Ottoni and Eduardo Moscovis starring in supporting roles. You can watch ‘Double Dad’ here.
7. Get the Goat (2021)
Directed by Vitor Brandt, ‘Get the Goat’ is an action comedy (Cabras da Peste) that stars Edmilson Filho, Matheus Nachtergaele, Leticia Lima, and Vitu Alves. It tells the story of a cop named Bruceuilis who loses a goat, Celestine, the annual festival mascot whom he was given the job of babysitting. In the endeavor to chase the guy who has stolen Celestine, the cop is joined by a peer named Trindade and ends up uncovering a drug trafficking ring. You can stream the movie here.
6. Kardec (2019)
‘Kardec’ is a biographical drama based on the life of Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail, a French educator, who is also known by his pseudonym Allan Kardec. He is the founder of Spiritism and, through his work, explains, from a Christian angle, how a spirit returns to Earth in a new body after it loses the old one, as well as its evolution during the journey. In the movie, we also get to see how he did what he did and what made him realize that it is doable. Directed by Wagner de Assis, the ‘Kardec’ cast includes Leonardo Medeiros as Allan Kardec, Julia Konrad, Louise D’ Tuani, and Sandra Corveloni. You may watch it here.
5. Beyond the Universe (2022)
When time is short, we should live twice. ‘Beyond the Universe,’ directed by Diego Freitas, gives us this message. We follow Nina (Giulia Be), who is a gifted pianist and dreams to play in the Symphony Orchestra in Sao Paulo. But she doesn’t have much time to fulfill that dream as she suffers from lupus, which is worsening with time. While waiting for a kidney transplant and dialysis, she comes across resident doctor Gabriel (Henry Zaga). As both fall in love, Gabriel finds himself challenging the Hippocratic Oath, while Nina thinks that she needs to concentrate on healing more than anything else. Will they be able to overcome their respective challenges and be together? To find out, you can stream ‘Beyond the Universe’ here.
4. The Dreamseller (2016)
‘The Dreamseller’ or ‘O Vendedor de Sonhos’ is based on a very popular book of the same name by Augusto Cury, a Brazilian psychiatrist, and is directed by Jayme Monjardim and Luca Bueno. It offers an outlook on life that all of us require. In a dramatic turn of events, a beggar manages to prevent a rich psychologist, of all people, from committing suicide and makes him understand what matters in life.
This act of saving itself shows the inexplicable nature of life as we get to see someone who has nothing and knows nothing save someone who supposedly makes a living out of understanding and explaining other people’s behavior and helping them cope with their issues. What follows is an unlikely friendship that brings fruitful realizations but unlikely consequences. The movie cast includes Dan Stulbach, César Troncoso, Leonardo Medeiros, and Thiago Mendonça. You may watch the film here.
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3. Elena (2012)
A documentary film directed by Petra Costa, ‘Elena’ is based on the life of Costa’s elder sister, Elena Andrade, who was an actress who killed herself after going into depression. Elena came to New York to be an actress after surviving a childhood crippled by the Brazilian military dictatorship, leaving behind her 7-year-old sister Petra. Twenty years later, Petra too becomes an actress and arrives in New York to look for her sister, and she does find her, but not in the way she expected. With themes of grief and memory, the movie provides an insightful cinematic experience that is unforgettable and is a must-watch. You can stream it here.
2. The Killer (2017)
‘The Killer’ (‘O Matador’) is a Western drama directed by Marcelo Galvão. Set in the 1940s, it centers on a notorious killer named Shaggy, who was found and brought up by Seven Ears, a bandit, away from society. But when Seven Ears disappears, a slightly unhinged Shaggy has to return to civilization and comes across a villainous Frenchman named Blanchard, who once had Seven Ears as an exterminator. Shaggy’s experiences along the way as he tries to look for his master are what makes the movie intriguing, especially since we know how dangerous he is with a gun, and not in a good way. The cast includes Diogo Morgado as Shaggy, Deto Montenegro as Seven Ears, with Marcelo Galvão and Will Roberts. You can check out the movie here.
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1. 7 Prisoners (2021)
An intense movie that addresses a heinous crime against humanity, ‘7 Prisoners’ talks about human trafficking from the POV of 18-year-old Mateus. He takes up a job at a São Paulo junkyard along with some other boys of the same age group but ends up being subject to modern-day slavery by their boss, Luca. Moreover, Mateus is forced to choose between following orders and risking harm to his family. Whether he and his peers manage to escape from their environment is what we find out in this Alexandre Moratto directorial. The cast of the movie includes Christian Malheiros as Mateus, Rodrigo Santoro as Luca, with Maurício de Barros and Vitor Julian in supporting roles. You can check out the movie here.
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