New Title MALU by Pedro Freire Premieres at Sundance


We are excited to get on board with our new title MALU by Pedro Freire, which premieres at Sundance in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition! Read more about the film on Variety.

by Pedro Freire
Brazil, 2023, 100 min

21 Jan  15:15  Prospector, PC

Press & Industry Screening
22 Jan  20:00  Holiday 2, PC

Public Screenings
22 Jan  14:00  Redstone 1, PC
24 Jan  20:30  Gateway 6, SLC
25 Jan  20:45  Redstone 1, PC

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.

Director's Note
MALU is an intimate family drama. Malus an adaptation of the story of my mother, Brazilian actress Malu Rocha (1947-2013).

MALU is an intimate family drama.

Malu is a character on the edge. We don‘t know if her emotional instability comes from the traumas of a difficult separation from her ex-husband, her violent relationship with her own mother, the lack of money, or the systemic sexism that makes it difficult for a middle-aged actress to get a job. Probably all of these things at the same time. She is a meteor, powerful, burning fast.

I come from a family of actors. My mother, my father and 3 siblings are actors, so very early I decided I wanted to direct actors. First, I thought I should direct theater, I believed that cinema was too technical and didn‘t give enough attention to the acting. Then, when I was 18, I watched John Cassavetes‘ FACES. That was the day I decided to become a filmmaker. 25 years later, after having directed eight short films that played at many festivals around the world, and worked with many other directors, it is an immense joy to premiere my first feature film as a director at the Sundance Film Festival.

When I found out we were selected for the festival I started crying, I sobbed. Sundance had a huge impact on my cinephilia from an early age. When I was a teenager, I was able to see, in DVD rental stores, films like CLERKS, CRUMB, or WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, which would never get to Brazil if it wasn’t for Sundance. For a young aspiring Latin American director like me, independent cinema seemed the only possible path, and Sundance was the place to go. To bring MALU to Sundance is a dream.


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