New Directors/New Films to Screen Films from Brazil, Colombia and Dominican Republic

Cocote  by Nelson Carlo de los Santos

Cocote by Nelson Carlo de los Santos

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Museum of Modern Art announced the complete lineup for the 47th annual New Directors/New Films, which includes the Brazilian films Azougue Nazaré by Tiago Melo and Good Manners / As Boas Maneiras by Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas; the Dominican film Cocote by Nelson Carlo de los Santos, marking the first time a film from the Caribbean island participates in the prestigious festival; and the Colombian short Palenque by Sebastián Pinzón Silva.

New Directors/New Films is dedicated to the discovery and support of emerging artists, and has earned an international reputation as the premier festival for works that break or re-cast the cinematic mold. This year’s lineup boasts features and shorts from 29 countries across five continents.

Having its North American Premiere, the fabulous—and fabulist—Azougue Nazaré is the first film by Melo, who worked on such recent celebrated Brazilian films as Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius and Gabriel Mascaro’s Neon Bull, and who was awarded the Bright Future prize at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival. The film is set in the Maracatu, an Afro-Brazilian burlesque carnival tradition with roots in slavery that takes place in the northeast state of Pernambuco, and boasts a nonprofessional cast of authentic Maracatu practitioners in a tale told through dance, music, and the supernatural, set in the sugarcane fields outside Recife.

Having its New York premiere, Good Manners is an immaculately stylized twist on the monster movie, Dutra and Rojas’s second collaboration (following the acclaimed Hard Labor) inventively engages matters of race, class, and desire. Set in São Paulo, the narrative initially concerns the curious relationship between rich, white, pregnant socialite Ana (Marjorie Estiano) and her new housemaid Clara (Isabél Zuaa). As the two women grow closer, their rapport turns first sexual then shockingly macabre. Good Manners evolves into a werewolf movie unlike any other, a delirious and compulsively watchable cross between Disney and Jacques Tourneur.

De los Santos' Cocote is a format-mixing, formally eclectic opus is at once a profound film about religion and a unique tale of revenge. Upon learning that his father has been murdered by a powerful local figure, Dominican private gardener Alberto travels from Santo Domingo back to his hometown to participate in his funeral rites—a mixture of Catholicism and West African mysticism that flies in the face of Alberto’s own evangelicalism. But Alberto’s family has vengeance in mind, and he finds himself at a spiritual and existential crossroads. Boldly synthesizing ethnographic documentary and scripted drama, Cocote is a visually resplendent and stylistically audacious work that evokes the films of Glauber Rocha and the fiction of Roberto Bolaño. 

Additionally, New Directors/New Films will present the New York Premiere of the Colombian short film Palenque by Pinzón Silva, an ambulant, melodic documentary set in San Basilio de Palenque, that evokes the rich musical history and collective memory of the first freed slave settlement in the Americas; and the North American premiere of Djon África by João Miller Guerra and Filipa Reis, a Brazilian co-production.

The 47th edition of New Directors/New Films will take place March 28–April 8 in New York City.