The Edge of Democracy


TIFF Lightbox 1 Thu, Apr 25, 2019 5:00 PM
TIFF Lightbox 2 Fri, Apr 26, 2019 12:30 PM
TIFF Lightbox 1 Sat, May 4, 2019 1:15 PM
Film Info
Country Listing:Brazil
Premiere Status:Canadian Premiere
Festival Info
Festival Year:2019
Accessibility:Partial Subtitles
Program Category:Special Presentations
Film Subjects:Crime & Justice
Politics & Political Intrigue
Latin America
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Petra Costa
Producer(s):Joanna Natasegara
Shane Boris
Tiago Pavan
Co-Producer(s):Sara Dosa
Mariana Oliva
Abigail Anketell-Jones
Editor(s):Karen Harley
Tina Baz
David Barker
Joaquim Castro
Jordana Berg
Felipe Lacerda
Writer(s):Carol Pires
David Barker
Moara Passoni
Cinematography:João Atala


Once a nation crippled by military dictatorship, Brazil found its democratic footing in 1985 and then, in 2002, elected a hugely popular political disrupter: steel-worker-turned-activist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Under his watch, 20 million Brazilians were lifted out of poverty, and his country rose to international prominence. In 2010, "Lula" passed the presidential baton to his prodigy, a fierce female guerrilla named Dilma Rousseff. But beneath their sunny legacy, rumblings of populist rage and institutional corruption seeped into the mainstream—much of it abetted by a partisan judge who fed news outlets sensational, deeply flawed corruption reports that targeted Lula, Dilma and anyone else who refused to scratch the backs of powerful politicians and special-interest groups. With remarkably intimate access, The Edge of Democracy follows Brazil's embattled leaders as they grapple with a scandal born out of their country's fascist past and inflamed by a furious and ideologically divided nation. Like a great Greek tragedy, Petra Costa's film carries a potent warning: Brazil's crisis is one that is shared—and fomented—by Western superpowers run by equally treacherous political forces.

Special Presentations program sponsored by
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Additional Information

  • THE GATE - 4 Stars, "One of the most vital and cautionary documentaries of the year."
  • NOW - 3 Stars, "Sheds light on [Brazil]'s recent political turmoil."
  • POV - "The Edge of Democracy is a harrowing cautionary tale told with a sense of grandeur"
  • Variety - "A sprawling, transfixing documentary essay."