Brazilian actress Marília Pêra lost the battle to lung cancer and died last Saturday, December 5, at the age of 72 at her home in Rio de Janeiro.
Born January 22, 1943 in Rio, Pêra was a prolific actress who worked in film, television, and theater. She was hailed as "one of the decade's (1980s) ten best actresses" by film critic Pauline Kael, and she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress in 1982 for her role as Sueli in Hector Babenco's acclaimed Pixote.
After working extensively as a dancer in theater musicals and television, she landed her first film role in 1968 in Eduardo Coutinho’s The Man Who Bought the World / O Homem Que Comprou o Mundo. He’d work with Coutinho again in 2007 in Jogo de Cena / Playing.
She acted in more than twenty films working with filmmakers such as Carlos Diego’s in Better Days Ahead / Dias Melhores Virão (1990) -for which received Best Actress awards at the Gramado and Cartagena film festivals- and Tieta (1996); with Walter Salles in Central Station (1998); and with Paulo César Saraceni inTraveler / O Viajante (1999). Other films include Bar Esperança (1983), and Angels of the Night / Anjos da Noite (1987).
Pêra is perhaps best known overseas for her character in Babenco’s Pixote, becoming the first South American actress ever honored in North America with a Best Actress Prize awarded by the National Society of Film Critics Awards. The film itself was also nominated for the Best Foreign Film Golden Globe.