E em cada paso dessa linha / pode se machucar.
Azar! / A esperança equilibrista / sabe que o show de todo artista
tem que continuar.
And on each step of this line / she could get hurt.
Bad luck! / Hope, the tightrope walker / knows that every artist’s show
must go on.
– Joâo Bosco, Aldir Blanc, and Elis Regina, “O Bêbado e a Equlibrista” / “The Drunk and the Tightrope Walker”
* * *
The old joke is that Brazil is the country of tomorrow (long pause) and always will be.1
Once upon a time, in the magical year of 2004, that joke became funny, because it was about (or so it seemed) to no longer be true. Tomorrow had come at last. Brazil was growing, booming. GDP rose by almost 6% in 2004, 4% in 2006, 6% again in 2007. There were tough stretches during the global financial crisis, but by 2010 the country had recovered to the tune of 7.5% growth, among the most robust of any large economy.2 Brazil had weathered the worst with flying colors, while America sputtered along and Europe (dragged down by Greece, Spain, Italy) seemed on the verge of financial collapse. Brazil had figured it out. The poverty rate fell from 46% in 1999 to 18% in 2014.3 Income inequality, once the highest in the world, began to decline.4 Upwardly mobile Brazilians were traveling around the world, joking about how New York and Paris were cheap compared to São Paulo. Massive infrastructure projects were being built. Brazil was tapped to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. The country was on its way, first among the BRICs (alphabetically, at the very least).
Presiding over all this wonderfulness was Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva, Lula to all. Former steelworker and union leader, founding member of the socialist Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party) aka the PT, political lightning rod, three-time failed presidential candidate, Lula had made it to the top of the world. There’s a great moment early in The Edge of Democracy (2019), Petra Costa’s Oscar-nominated documentary, in which a still-in-office Barack Obama is shown vying to buddy-buddy with Lula. “That’s my man,” gushes Obama, in full bro mode. “I love this guy! The most popular politician on Earth.”
Lula served two terms as Brazil’s president, from the first day of 2003 to the last of 2010, and was then replaced by his handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff, Dilma to all, who won the 2010 elections handily, riding on the coattails of Lula’s achievements. The openly stated plan was for Dilma to head two successful administrations and then for Lula to run again in 2018. Even when Dilma held the top post, the figure of Lula always loomed large in the nation’s consciousness.
In The Edge of Democracy, Costa tells the story of how this plan unraveled, and Lula and Dilma fell from grace, and tomorrow turned into a nightmare, and of how Brazilian democracy now seems to be hanging over the edge of the abyss. (Which reminds me, The Edge of Democracy is a terrible title that makes no sense. What edge are we talking about? Are we discussing the physical boundaries of democracy, maybe its sharpness or bluntness? Democracy on the Edge would’ve been much more to the point, and as a bonus would reflect better the original title, Democracia em Vertigem, which actually means “Democracy in Vertigo,” but also, possibly, something closer to “Democracy in Free Fall.”)
The story is well known to most Brazilians, and was widely covered by the international media, but Costa nevertheless checks each marker with didactic precision. Things were going great, until they weren’t. A steep downturn in global commodity prices hit many of Brazil’s key industries beginning in 2011, not least the state oil company Petrobras. Dilma’s government was forced to respond with unpopular short-term policies, including a quick raise of transportation prices, which led to fierce anti-government protests. For the first time, street demonstrations were instigated by social media campaigns, some of them the work of far-right trolls who would become progressively more visible. Dilma also passed a series of judicial reforms (for reasons Costa doesn’t explore) with the stated aim of streamlining the fight against institutional corruption. Soon after, Petrobras became the epicenter of a colossal corruption scheme that came to light through the criminal investigation known as “Operação Lava Jato” (Operation Car Wash), because everyone and everything in Brazil must have a nickname. (The amounts involved were Bond-villain-level humongous, ten and eleven figures.) Dilma’s ineffective economic strategy, and her ill-fated decision to mishandle government funds to make the situation seem rosier than it was, along with a slew of daily headlines implicating Lula and many of his close associates in backroom dealings tied to Lava Jato (plenty of leading opposition figures were up to their necks in dirty money as well), all contributed to Dilma’s impeachment in 2016 and Lula being charged, sentenced, and imprisoned for corruption. After this political earthquake came the final cataclysmic aftershock, the 2018 presidential election, which Lula was supposed to win (for much of the campaign season he led the polls, even while sitting in a jail cell), but instead went to the despicable Jair Bolsonaro, a former army officer who ran on a racist and homophobic platform and gleefully declared that Brazilian democracy was too soft and spineless and that the country had been better off under military dictatorship.
Again, no Brazilian who paid the least amount of attention to national politics would need reminding of this chain of events. It’s clear that the Netflix-produced The Edge of Democracy is intended for an international audience, as a primer to recent Brazilian history, but also as a warning to the many other nations currently undergoing a similar erosion of democratic values and institutions. As such, it owns the responsibility of presenting the facts fairly and accurately, in order for its message to carry real weight. But Costa has no intention of being fair or balanced. From the get-go she’s clear that her account will be skewed to her perspective, her preoccupations, her aspirations.
“Costa hasn’t produced a work of objective journalism or detached historical scholarship,” notes A. O. Scott in the New York Times, “so much as a personal reckoning with her nation’s past and present.” He lauds Costa for being open about “her political allegiances,” and for her “admiring” yet “hardly uncritical” portrayal of Lula and Dilma. “Her candor,” he concludes, “enhances rather than undermines the credibility of her report.”5 But Scott, I’m afraid, is too forgiving. The Edge of Democracy may not be pamphletist propaganda like some critics, including Bolsonaro himself, charge,6 but it is an undoubtedly partisan text, steered by a preconceived notion of what Brazilian history was, is, and should be. Costa is certainly open about her worldview, but Scott, and other liberal-minded critics such as Jon Lee Anderson in the New Yorker7 and Ela Bittencourt on NPR,8 fail to hold her to account for the significant rhetorical lengths she employs to prod her audience to accept her account as history.
I say this as someone who’s very much predisposed to agreeing with Costa. Like me, she was born in upper-middle-class comfort to a loving family with strong leftist leanings. Like my father and uncle, her parents were part of the resistance to the military regime that took power in Brazil in 1964.9 They were persecuted by the secret police, imprisoned, tortured, forced into hiding. As it was for me, the brutality of Brazil’s military rulers was ingrained into Costa’s consciousness from the time she was a toddler. She is a few years younger than I, but neither of us has any memory of those dark years. What we know is what we were told by our parents, and later reinforced on our own. Like me, Petra Costa is named after a political prisoner who was murdered by the regime.
As an artist, of course, Costa has every right to discuss the history and politics of her own country however she pleases. But as a documentarian, introducing this particular story to an audience who, by and large, is ignorant of the necessary context, and selling it as “true to life, this is what happened” (which, again, is how it’s been received by the aforementioned liberal-minded English-speaking critics), she is required to treat those whose views she doesn’t share with a modicum of fairness. On this count, she falls short.
* * *
The Edge of Democracy opens in media res, on the night Lula is to turn himself in to begin serving his sentence. He has absconded to the Steelworkers’ Union building, his old stomping grounds, but has already announced he’ll go quietly and accept his fate. The building is surrounded by a crowd of tens of thousands of his supporters, many wearing PT red. Their “he will not leave!” shouts evince less defiance than frustration. Lula’s downfall is a done deal.
Inside, holding a Styrofoam cup, Dilma nervously walks the hallways, looking for Lula, who is saying his goodbyes to the inner circle. The camera gets so close to the faces of these two former heads of state, it’s as if their words and facial expressions are there for the viewer’s benefit, the life-altering and nation-altering implications of the events almost secondary. Lula wears a t-shirt and his close-cropped hair is uncombed. There’s no performance here, Costa is signaling, no one cares about appearances.
The degree of access allowed to Costa and her crew by Lula and Dilma is extraordinary, and the astoundingly intimate moments the film captures are without a doubt its main achievement. Every time either or both former presidents come into to the frame, something about their personalities is revealed, often something new, previously unknown to anyone but those closest to them. Lula’s habit of gesticulating when he talks on the phone, Dilma’s toothy smile, Lula’s ex-smoker reflex of drumming his fingers on any available surface, Dilma’s delight at being able to work the CD player.
Back to the streets, where anti-PT demonstrators, wearing the green and yellow of the national flag (and the national soccer team) celebrate Lula’s humiliation. Their aggressiveness, their bile, is palpable. Throughout the film Costa will portray PT supporters as fighting for democracy – they march peacefully, sobbing at the unjust treatment of their heroes – and their opponents as angry mobs thirsty for blood – their faces twisted in anger, their chants mean-spirited and hateful.
The camera now shows the entrance to Alvorada, the official presidential residence in Brasilia. The house is empty. The glass door is open, the curtains partially drawn, showing the viewer the inside, the extravagant furniture, the life-size sculptures, the resplendent surfaces. Ominous piano cords accompany the camera as it slowly crawls its way across the house, like an insurance auditor conducting an inspection, or a physician performing a colonoscopy.
“Imagine a country,” says Costa’s voice, solemn and mournful, “named after a tree. A country where more slaves died than were born. It was cheaper to bring new ones. Once all the rebellions were quelled, the Republic fell under a military coup. After twenty-one years of dictatorship, the country established its democracy, and became an inspiration to many parts of the world. It seemed the country had finally broken its curse. Yet here we are, with one president deposed, one in jail, and the nation going back to its authoritarian past. Today, as I feel the ground open under my feet, I fear our democracy was nothing but an ephemeral dream.”
This is the Brazil Costa wants her international audience to see: a country with a silly name, built on the backs of slaves, where the military ruled with an iron fist until, quite recently, but one generation ago, democracy began to take root. If you’re looking for golden beaches, beautiful soccer, or Carnival dancers, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re interested in learning about Brazil’s long democratic history before the military coup, or its previous experience with militaristic populism in the 1930s and ’40s, go read a book.
Inside of the first three minutes, Costa has displayed all of the narrative ingredients that make up this accomplished, often revelatory, yet ultimately frustrating film. First, the events as seen on the news: the streets, the mobs, the shouts; later on, the parliamentary and legal machinations, the rallies and speeches and votes. Second, the individuals enmeshed within it all, Dilma most of all, but also Lula, in closest close-up. Third, the structure, the Alvorada house, the innards of power, the home of Brazilian democracy, its good and its bad. Fourth, Costa herself, her voice, her perspective, on what Brazil was, is, and what it seems about to become, and what all of it means to her and should mean to everyone else.
The story unspools with these four elements intermittently getting in the way of each other. After the prologue, Costa turns to the last, that is, to herself. A montage of home videos interspersed with news footage takes us through the beats of her life. This is to be a personal story, she is saying, my story, seen through my eyes and my self and my mind.
A young Lula comes next, via black-and-white footage, leading a workers’ strike in the late ’70s. His hair and beard are bushy. He brings a cigarette to his mouth and takes a long drag. Costa, bless her heart, holds the scene long enough to see Lula leaning the cigarette toward a comrade, who uses the burning tip to light his own. Lula is a labor leader. He fights for the workers, for the poor, for the weak against the gutless politicians who sit in parliament as puppets of the generals, who are themselves, Costa and her parents and my parents are all fully convinced, nothing but puppets of the wealthy oligarchs who are really pulling the strings. Lula’s a hero of the masses. More footage shows him being carried on the shoulders of a joyous crowd, as he struggles not to drop his cigarette, and being interviewed in the ’80s, one hand around his wife, the other grasping a cigarette (Lula was a two-pack-a-day smoker for decades; it took a bout of throat cancer to convince him to stop). He runs for president three times, pushing for the interests of the working class, but loses each time.
“Until,” says Costa, “he decided to compromise.” A campaign ad from 2002 illustrates what she means: “I want to tell our business leaders,” says Lula in a suit, his hair and beard gray now, his tone gentle and conciliatory, “that Brazil really needs them.”
In the narrative of the Brazilian left, this is the moment where it all went to hell. Yes, the communists and the socialists, the old resisters and guerrilla cadres, the imprisoned and the tortured and the exiles all say, democracy came in 1985. There were elections. But it wasn’t a real democracy. It was a democracy by the people, but not of or for the people. It was of and for the old oligarchs, as always, and the new generation of capitalist entrepreneurs along with them. What did the ’80s and ’90s bring to most Brazilians beyond the same old poverty, inequality, crime, racism? But Lula was always there, fighting the good fight. Lula spoke for the people. Lula was real democracy. And then he turned his back on the people. He shook hands with businessmen and bankers and oligarchs and signed a pact with the devil. Lula was at last Brazil’s democratically elected leader, but to get there he’d thrown away his ideals and settled for the democracy of the rich.
Costa, nineteen in 2002, voted for him anyway.
Things looked shaky at first. Lula was facing a hostile opposition in the legislature, and his party became embroiled in the first of many corruption scandals, a vote-buying scheme known as “the mensalão” (because nicknames). Lula’s chief of staff resigned as a consequence, to be replaced by Dilma. Lula, Costa remarks delicately, “managed to distance himself from the scandals.” Indeed, he emerged stronger from the debacle. He reached out to the other side of the aisle, to the right-leaning Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement, or PMDB, which allowed him to get his government moving. Costa, like many PT supporters, was disappointed with Lula for cozying up to “the old oligarchy.” But, like so many others, she came around, at least for a while. Lula, she remarks, proved himself “a sculptor whose material is human clay.”
The good times followed. Commodity prices were high and the world economy was humming along. Business loved Lula, who adopted pragmatic economic policies that endeared him to the United States and the international financial institutions. The Brazilian people, the workers and the poor who brought him to power, benefitted as well. He used oil revenues to fund his social programs, which were the envy of the world. Costa “saw twenty million people escape poverty.” Who could be opposed to that? He was the darling of the world, friends with Nelson Mandela, Obama, and the Queen of England. Perhaps he had done it. Perhaps he had brought prosperity to all without a bloody revolution. Perhaps he had found the way.
Enter Dilma. A male voice, introducing her before a speaking engagement, quickly lists her resume: trained in economics, former advisor to Lula on industry matters, briefly Energy Minister, later Chief of the Government. But none of this truly interests Costa, for whom, as for many in the Brazilian left, Dilma’s essential attribute, the source of her moral significance, is that she was imprisoned and tortured as a young woman by the military regime. Dilma’s suffering, and the poise and bravery she showed while undergoing the most depraved treatment, are legendary. Costa turns them into the whole of her being. The first time we hear her voice, Dilma is not talking about the workers or the people or her plans for the future, she’s talking about being tortured. Later, when Costa brings her mother to meet Dilma, the only part of the conversation we see is about their shared experience as political prisoners. When Dilma gives a climactic speech before the legislators who want to impeach her, the only part that we hear is about her past as a torture victim. But these undeniable truths about this remarkable woman, the truths of her suffering and her resistance and her survival, are not what convinced Lula to choose her as his successor. Many men and women withstood and survived torture under the dictatorship. Only one became president of the fifth-largest country in the world. In a beautiful moment, the two are shown embracing after Dilma’s first election. “You invented this,” she tells Lula. “You deserve this,” he responds. Why does she deserve it? What has she said or done to earn Lula’s love and trust? We, the audience, are never told.
Much more than its ideology-soaked narrative, this is the film’s most glaring weakness. It’s evident that Dilma isn’t too keen in being seen outside of her official capacities. She confides to Costa’s mother that she longs for the days she was on the run, “na clandestinidade,” because then she was truly free. Still, Costa seems content to have relied on just this one angle of approach. Despite her enviable access to Dilma, Costa turns her into little more than a Madonna of suffering, not an agent but a victim, a woman put down and reviled by greasy, evil men. Dilma’s humanity is revealed at many moments throughout the film (sitting in the back of a limo, she compares herself to Josef K. of Kafka’s The Trial), but her being is little explored, reduced to the eighteen months she spent in a military prison when she was twenty-two. Lula is shown giving moving speeches, his followers in tears, their faces beatific in adoration. Dilma gets no such moment. The unfairness, the lack of imagination in this treatment of Brazil’s first female president, a brilliant mind and a figure of genuine historical import, is maddening.
* * *
The bulk of the film takes place between December 2015, when the initiative to impeach Dilma was formally accepted by the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of Brazil’s congress), and April 2018, when Lula was taken into custody. The cast of characters the reader must become acquainted with to follow the byzantine details of this years-long political crisis is extensive. There’s Eduardo Cunha of the PMDB, who as president of the Chamber of Deputies led the impeachment drive. There’s Michel Temer, a frienemy of Cunha’s and also a PMDB leader, who allied himself with Lula in a marriage of convenience and accepted the post of Dilma’s vice president (and served as president after Dilma was removed from power). There’s Sérgio Moro, the judge at the head of the Lava Jato investigation, who over time filed corruption charges against Lula, Cunha, and Temer. There are multiple PT legislators, and their opponents across the aisle, all of whom give Costa at least clipped sound bites.
Despite her disappointment at Lula and Dilma’s compromises and broken promises, Costa’s primary agenda is to show that both the impeachment of Dilma and the prosecution of Lula were unwarranted, the result of the right wing’s spiteful vendetta against the PT’s rise to dominance in their country. She succeeds, to a degree. She catches one lawmaker, PMDB deputy Roberto Requião, admitting that “if the economy was good,” Dilma’s offenses “wouldn’t matter.” She gets several interviewees to recognize that corruption in Brazil’s upper echelons didn’t start with Lula but is systemic and ubiquitous. She serves up some persuasive evidence that both law enforcement and government bureaucracy moved unusually quickly in their drive to bring the PT power duo down.
But she can’t fully exonerate them. Dilma did indeed fudge government numbers to minimize the economic crisis, and Lula, at the very least, oversaw a deeply corrupt political organization that featured former Marxist guerrillas filling their pockets with bribes from oil magnates. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker’s Latin America expert, may be right that Lula’s malfeasance was “never proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” but he neglects to mention that many right-wing politicians’ misdeeds have also never been proven to everyone’s satisfaction, yet he and Costa don’t hesitate to call them corrupt.
Indeed, in her zeal to prove her case, Costa actually undermines it. She mentions a well-known phone call that was intercepted by Moro’s investigation and released to the public. Dilma, still in power, has decided to appoint Lula to a cabinet post, which would grant him immunity from legal prosecution while serving the office. In the recording, Dilma tells Lula not to worry, because she’s sending the official papers with the appointment to him with all haste, “just in case.” Costa says that “for some,” the call is proof that Lula’s getting the position to avoid being charged. “For others,” it’s proof that Moro is using the law “to take Lula out of the political game.” She then has a series of talking heads provide reasons why the call shouldn’t have been recorded, let alone made public. The implication is that Moro’s just an agent of the oligarchy, abusing his power to benefit the hands that feed him. And perhaps this is the case, perhaps Brazil’s judicial system is deficient and Moro was acting in bad faith. But later on, Costa plays several recordings, also captured by Moro’s team, that implicate Cunha, Temer, and others in a conspiracy to overthrow the PT as well as in bribery and money laundering. Those calls are presented as irrefutable evidence of guilt, as are Cunha’s arrest and sentencing for his own role in the whole disgusting mess.
When Lula or Dilma is accused of something, Costa remarks on the thin evidence or the unsupported assumptions of their prosecutors. But she doesn’t hesitate to ascribe nefarious motives to the right-wing politicians she doesn’t like. When the Chamber of Deputies votes not to impeach Temer (who was also investigated by Moro and brought down by an intercepted phone call), Costa shows PMDB politicians bending over backwards to hide their hypocrisy, but she doesn’t confront PT deputies with the same level of criticism. There are sporadic glimpses of police repression of protesters under Dilma, but also an extended, minutes-long sequence of police in riot gear pummeling PT supporters under Temer, implying (incorrectly) that the latter was more likely to release the hounds than his predecessor. She makes it seem as if Temer was a cog in the unstoppable oligarchic machine, who happily handed the presidential sash to Bolsonaro, when in fact Temer’s last year in office was a disaster, during which he was as maligned by the media and the political world as Dilma had been before him.10 She accuses Brazil’s supreme court of political bias, but would she do the same to the current court, now featuring a PT majority, which just recently ordered Lula released from prison?
Every so often, the action is interrupted by a long take of the camera leisurely exploring the innards of the Alvorada. This repeated motif becomes distracting and tiresome, because it’s never clear what it’s meant to convey. During her meanderings, Costa does capture a moving interview with a group of housekeepers cleaning the residence after Dilma’s departure, one of whom offers a searing critique of Brazilian democracy in the simplest, most heartbreaking terms.
The film jumps from Lula’s imprisonment to Bolsonaro’s election, implying a causal relationship that’s neither explained nor investigated. The oligarchs’ machinations and vituperations against the PT can’t by themselves explain Bolsonaro’s election. Bolsonaro rose in spite of, not because of, the old conservative guard, who wanted him as much as the establishment of the Republican Party in the United States wanted Donald Trump as their leader in early 2016. To suggest that removing Dilma led inevitably to Bolsonaro would be like saying that eight years of Republican loathing and obstruction of Obama led inevitably to Trump, as if Trump hadn’t disposed of a baker’s dozen of establishment Republican opponents on his path to victory.
Costa goes out of her way to avoid the very real possibility that Bolsonaro’s rise was an unpredictable historical fluke. Besides the fact that the undisputed favorite in the race was behind bars, the sitting president was despised by all, and no significant popular figure from the traditional right emerged as a viable alternative, there was the stabbing of Bolsonaro during a campaign event, which in characteristic Brazilian fashion spawned an infinity of conspiracy theories and had the public keyed in to him for months on end, and which Costa ignores altogether.
It may yet be that Bolsonaro’s ultra-right, militaristic, lathered with Evangelical Christian iconography, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, and anti-democratic brand of politics – known as “Bible, Bullets, and Beef”11 – will become the norm in Brazil, as it may yet be that Donald Trump’s analogous brand of populism will persist in the United States. But if they do, the explanation can’t be as simple as “it’s what the elites wanted all along.”
Ultimately, Costa is trying to make two claims, which, if not mutually exclusive, certainly don’t complement each other. On the one hand, she blames Lula and Dilma for not living up to the hopes of so many Brazilians, for not being pure enough to deliver real democracy. The mea culpa by PT official Gilberto Carvalho serves nicely to lay out this thesis:
The PT was born to combat that vertical, bureaucratic form of doing politics. As it kept growing and dealing with power, it lost something that was very important to us. The idea of “one foot in, one foot out.” The foot on the outside stays linked to the social struggles, knowing that, within capitalism, you only get your rights by mobilizing and fighting. The foot inside is inside the institutions, looking to change it. As we grew, we forgot the foot outside. We began to depend on governing in the congress. We found we could be friends with the big guys, and the campaign finance system became the natural way. We didn’t engage in political reform, which was fundamental to end with the campaign finance system, which is the mother of corruption.
The PT fought its way into the system, but by doing so it became a part of the system, and as such incapable of delivering a true people’s democracy.
On the other hand, she uses all the tools at her disposal to show that Lula and Dilma’s downfalls were orchestrated by the Dark Side, that they were unfair, undeserved. She’s lost faith in her heroes, yet she still can’t stand the idea of her heroes’ enemies ever being in the right.
In truth, Brazilian politics (or politics anywhere, for that matter) can’t be understood simply as the struggle between light and dark, good and evil. Lula launched one of the most successful poverty reduction programs in modern world history, but he condoned, and almost certainly benefited from, under-the-table dealings and dirty money. Dilma was a paragon of courage and integrity, yet she lied to her people and cheated to escape responsibility. Moro did an unprecedented job of unveiling the systemic rot embedded in Brazil’s institutions, only to then join forces with Bolsonaro, who may still destroy Brazilian democracy. There’s no such thing as completely balanced, purely objective art. Art is made by people, and people are neither balanced nor objective. But to offer opinion as fact, interpretation as history, doesn’t serve anybody all that well, not the audience, not the history, and not the art.
* * *
Unless otherwise noted, all images are screenshots from the film via Netflix.
- The quip is attributed sometimes to Stefan Zweig – see Santiago Montenegro “Brasil, país del futuro” in El Espectador, August 28, 2017 https://www.elespectador.com/opinion/brasil-pais-del-futuro-columna-710261 – but most often to Charles de Gaulle – see Paulo Prada “For Brazil, It’s Finally Tomorrow” in The Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2010. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704743404575127913634823670 [↩]
- “GDP Growth (annual %) – Brazil” in World Bank Data https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG?locations=BR [↩]
- “Brazil Poverty Rate 1981-2020” in Macrotrends https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/BRA/brazil/poverty-rate [↩]
- Marcelo Madeiros “Income Inequality in Brazil: New Evidence from Combined Tax and Survey Data” in World Social Science Report 2016 https://en.unesco.org/inclusivepolicylab/sites/default/files/analytics/document/2019/9/chap_21_05.pdf [↩]
- A. O. Scott, “Review: ‘Edge of Democracy’ Looks at Brazil with Outrage and Heartbreak,” in The New York Times, June 18, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/movies/edge-of-democracy-review.html [↩]
- E.g., Tim Padgett, “Does Oscar’s Nod to ‘The Edge of Democracy’ Step over the Edge of Liberal Hypocrisy?” in WLRN, January 15, 2020, https://www.wlrn.org/post/does-oscars-nod-edge-democracy-step-over-edge-liberal-hypocrisy#stream/0 [↩]
- Jon Lee Anderson, “The Fracturing of Brazil in ‘The Edge of Democracy’” in the New Yorker, December 13, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-fracturing-of-brazil-in-the-edge-of-democracy [↩]
- Ela Bittencourt “‘The Edge Of Democracy’ Offers an Intimate Look at Brazilian Politics in Flux” in NPR.com, June 20, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/06/20/733419744/the-edge-of-democracy-offers-an-intimate-look-at-brazilian-politics-in-flux [↩]
- Since it was led in large part by high school and university students,it is known among scholars of Latin America as “the children’s crusade.” [↩]
- Debora Duque and Amy Erica Smith “The Establishment Upside Down: A Year of Change in Brazil” in Revista de Ciencia Política vol 39, no. 2, 2019, pp. 168-189, p. 169. [↩]
- Duque and Smith, p. 179. [↩]