Your Turn

Espero tua (re)volta

- BRAZIL / 2019 / Portuguese / Color / DCP / 93 min

Director, Script: Eliza Capai
Photography: Eliza Capai, Bruno Miranda
Editing: Eliza Capai, Yuri Amaral
Music: Décio 7
Narration: Lucas “Koka” Penteado, Marcela Jesus, Nayara Souza
Sound Design: Confraria de Sons & Charutos
Producer: Mariana Genescá
World Sales: Renato Manganello (Taturana Mobi)

Three politically engaged Brazilian students narrate over footage of recent demonstrations against public transportation fee hikes, and of school occupations opposing the public high school system reorganization plan. The rhythmic song-like voice-over narration of the young protesters accompanies them as they occupy schools and streets, forcing politicians to respond to their demands. Despite their endeavors, the police respond with ever-intensifying violence as Brazil proceeds towards the emergence of a far-right government.

[Director’s Statement] When I was born, Brazil was still under a military dictatorship, and the National Student Union functioned illegally. I grew up hearing about the political persecution and imprisonment of my parents. After the return of democracy in 1988, I founded the first student union at my school alongside some friends when I was twelve years old.

That year, the new Constitution was written, and the country celebrated a scant 100 years since the end of slavery. Schools taught that Brazil was a “racial democracy,” and that its people were peaceful and cordial.

The fact that the country was among the top in the world in income inequality and violence of all types, from hunger to gun deaths, was ignored.

In the last few years, public policies seeking to include those who were poorer and less white allowed for a historically marginalized population to gain basic access to education, and food. The first generation born during this period began to use their voices to point out errors in the official history of the country.

In 2015, high school students in São Paulo, that first generation to grow up under progressive public policies, organized themselves against proposed budget cuts to the state’s public school system. Over 200 schools were occupied on behalf of quality public education. Part of the population watched the occupations with starry eyes: there was hope.

In that moment, it was unthinkable that in just three years, Brazil’s first extreme right-wing president, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, would be elected. Among his campaign promises was to consider all social movements who “invade” buildings to be terrorists, and to sweep out the “reds”—the Left—to exile or prison. Bolsonaro promised to end “Marxist indoctrination,” and any critical framing of history or society.

Eliza Capai

Born in 1979. An independent documentary filmmaker who focuses on representing social issues and thinking about creative modes of production, narration, and distribution. Her first feature, Here Is So Far (2013), is based on encounters with women during a seven-month trip across Africa. Her second film, The Tortoise and the Tapir (2016), investigates the gigantic hydroelectric plants built and planned in the middle of the Amazon rainforest during Brazil’s worst drought in decades. Your Turn premiered at the Berlinale in 2019, winning the Amnesty International Film Award and the Peace Film Prize.