North American premiere
Cheval Noir Competition

The Father's Shadow

Directed by Gabriela Amaral Almeida


Official selection

The Brasilia Festival of Brazilian Cinema 2018, Tokyo International Film Festival, Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Film 2019


Gabriela Amaral Almeida


Eduardo Gomes, Dinho Lima Flor, Julio Machado, Nina Medeiros, Clara Moura, Luciana Paes, Rafael Raposo


Barbara Alvarez


Stray Dogs

Brazil 2018 92 mins OV Portuguese Subtitles : English
Genre DramaThrillerHorror

Dalva (Nina Medeiros), nine years old, plays in the dirt of her backyard. She has buried her doll here. In a disadvantaged neighbourhood of São Paulo, she lives with her aunt Cristina (Luciana Paes) and her father Jorge (Julio Machado), an exploited builder who works in unsafe conditions. Slowly, Jorge drifts away from his daughter, lost in the thoughts of his late wife’s yellow flower dress. The concrete and the dust have bruised his body. He is sick and lets himself rot, little by little. Inspired by her esoteric aunt and her favourite George Romero movie, little Dalva experiments with incantations and sorcery, in hopes of bringing her mother back from the dead, and saving her father from his demons.

After her first feature FRIENDLY BEAST, a theatrical tale of blood, sex and the battle between social classes which world-premiered at Fantasia in 2017, Gabriela Amaral Almeida is back with a second, much darker film. THE FATHER’S SHADOW was a short film written and developed in 2014 through Sundance’s Director’s Lab program, which ultimately evolved into a feature. With autobiographical flavours, the patterns and political themes dear to the director are present here again. Inspired by all the great masters of horror, much like her zombie-obsessed young lead, and here more specifically by SPIRIT OF THE BEHIVE's Victor Erice, Amaral uses her fantastic imagination and her ability to create visceral, haunting images in order to express the anguish of Brazilian society in decline. – Celia Pouzet