A mesmerising and superbly acted drama about the fragile relationships and family alienations between three women of three generations.

"... Superbly Acted ..."
"Yara de Novaes stuns ..."
"... what the superb De Novaes does with this acting feat is at once electric and monstrous."
"... moves with a singular force."

"This is a remarkable film — a work of urgency, a work of compassion, a work of love."
"Anchored by four stunning performances ..."

"A Brazilian Cinematic Gem"

"Malu's Performances Are Mesmerizing"
"Malu is a powerful exploration of generational trauma, with phenomenal performances and a rich script."

"Having directed several short films and television series, Brazilian director Pedro Freire unleashes a motherlode of intergenerational dysfunctions with his feature narrative debut, the captivating Malu."

"Beautiful Cassavetes-Inspired Drama"
"brilliant Yara de Novaes"
"fittingly raw and eruptive"
"hyper-combustible debut feature"


Malu — a mercurial, unemployed actress living with her conservative mother in a precarious house in a Rio de Janeiro slum — tries to deal with her strained relationship with her own adult daughter while surviving on memories of her glorious artistic past.

Rio de Janeiro, 1997. Malu, a 50-year-old unemployed and bipolar actress, lives in a precarious house in a favela close to the sea. Dreaming of her glorious past in the theater, she finds herself obliged to house her mother, Lili, a deeply conservative old lady, who has nowhere else to live.
The violent fights between the two are mitigated with the arrival of Joana, Malu's daughter, who has not seen her mother in years. A moment of harmony reigns in the house, but Malu's madness intensifies when Joana reveals her decision to do work in television, something Malu despises. Mother and daughter break up, and Joana promises not to return until Malu seeks psychiatric help.
In solitude, Malu tries to reconnect with Lili, but it doesn't work and after a complicated episode Malu expels Lili for her house.
A few years later, living in complete loneliness and abandonment, Malu develops severe neurological conditions, and Joana finally returns to care for her mother. They discover that Malu has little time left to live, her brain is deteriorating by the day. Joana decides to take Malu to São Paulo, to look after her during the last months of her life. The imminence of death brings an unexpected lightness to their mother-daughter relationship. On the road to São Paulo, already reconciled with her daughter, talking about Brazil's fragile and young democracy.

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Director: Pedro Freire
Genre: Drama
Tags: Mother & Daughter, Generations, Reconciliation
Original title: Malu
English title: Malu
Country of production: Brazil
Year of production: 2024
Length: 101
Color: Color
Original language: Portuguese
Subtitles: English

Cast: Yara de Novaes, Juliana Carneiro da Cunha, Carol Duarte, Átila Bee
Scriptwriter: Pedro Freire
Director of photography: Mauro Pinheiro Jr.
Production designer: Elsa Romero
Editor: Marilia Moraes
Sound design: Daniel Turini
Sound mixing: Daniel Turini
Music: Jonas Sá
Producers: Tatiana Leite, Sabrina Garcia, Leo Ribeiro, Roberto Berliner
Production company: Bubbles Project, TvZero, Canal Brasil, Telecine
Supported by: RioFilme

Film poster

Festivals / Awards

Sundance Film Festival, USA - World Cinema Dramatic Competition - World Premiere
Hong Kong International Film Festival, China
New Directors/New Films, USA
Sundance CDMX 2024, Mexico
Split Film Festival, Croatia
Galway Film Fleadh, Ireland
Durban IFF, South Africa


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