A film by Joana Pimenta, Adirley Queirós
2022, 153 minutes
No. 369

An electrifying portrait of Brazil’s dystopian contemporary moment that blends documentary with narrative fiction and genre elements, Dry Ground Burning from filmmakers Joana Pimenta (An Aviation Field) and Adirley Queirós (Once There Was Brasilia) presents a daring and unique vision of the country’s possible future.

Just released from prison, Léa (Léa Alves Silva) returns home to the Brasilia favela of Sol Nascente and joins up with her half-sister Chitara (Joana Darc Furtado), the fearless leader of an all-female gang that steals and refines oil from underground pipes and sells gasoline to a clandestine network of motorcyclists. Living in constant opposition to Jair Bolsonaro’s fiercely authoritarian and militarized government, Chitara’s women claim the streets for themselves as a declaration of radical political resistance on behalf of ex-cons and the oppressed.

Official Selection, New York Film Festival
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival
Official Selection, Berlin Film Festival

“Four Stars. An electrifying Brazilian tale of rebellion. An astonishing work. An engrossing, volatile ride.” – The Guardian

“A politically incendiary ethnographic sci-fi…. In Dry Ground Burning, the future isn’t just female: it is Black, lesbian, profoundly matriarchal.” – Sight and Sound

“Riveting. A hybrid tale of Brazilian resistance, independence and survival. The directors forge an inventive cinematic language out of political consciousness… as it blends fiction and documentary, immersion and observation, to provide a multilayered embodiment of marginalised womanhood in contemporary Brazil." – Little White Lies

"One of the Ten Best Films of the Year" - Artforum

“A meticulous blend of fact and fiction... layered with suggestions of Westerns, gangster films, and even science fiction, all rooted in the real contemporary.” - Hyperallergic

“A furious, queer, boisterous gangster epic. In more ways than one Dry Ground Burning unfolds as a war over resources, a battle for oil and land that doubles as a kind of matriarchal Mad Max.” – The Film Stage

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