Kleber Mendonça Filho

When I start a film, I think about the conflict, about what might appeal to the viewer.

Kleber Mendonça Filho won the Jury Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival for Bacurau, his third feature film co-directed with Juliano Dornelles, and has established himself as an iconic director of socially-engaged Brazilian cinema.

Published on 05/08/2019

2 min

Born in 1968 in Recife, Northeast Brazil, Kleber Mendonça Filho studied journalism before becoming a film critic. During the 1990s, he started experimenting behind the camera and produced several documentaries and short films. He quickly found success: his first works were praised at various international festivals, and his short film Vinil Verde was noticed at the Cannes Film Festival Directors Fortnight in 2005. Eleven years later in 2016, Aquarius, his second feature film, entered the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Kleber Mendonça Filho creates a cinema that is resolutely critical of his country. The violence that characterises his films — physical as well as psychological and symbolic — is never gratuitous: it echoes Brazil’s contemporary issues. Thus, in his latest feature film Bacurau (2019), he imagines a dark dystopia located in the poor Northeastern region in the near future.

In 2012, Kleber Mendonça Filho represented Brazil at the Oscars in the "best foreign language film" category with his first feature film, O Som ao Redor (“Neighboring Sounds"). In 2017, he chaired the Critics Week jury at the Cannes Film Festival, before receiving the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize in 2019 for his latest feature film Bacurau co-directed with Juliano Dornelles.

  • 1997


    Release of Enjaulado, Kleber Mendonça Filho’s first short film which tells the story of a man who sinks into paranoia.

  • 2012


    Kleber Mendonça Filho makes his first feature film, Neighboring Sounds. He represents Brazil at the Oscars in the "best foreign language film" category.

  • 2016


    His film Aquarius enters the Cannes Film Festival competition, part-thriller, part-drama.

  • 2019


    Co-directed with Juliano Dornelles, Bacurau wins the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Institut français and the director

Bacurau was supported by the Aide aux cinémas du monde fund in 2017. This Institut français programme provides support to foreign film-makers for film projects co-produced with France, whether they be feature-length fiction, animated films or creative documentaries.


Learn more about the « Aide aux Cinémas du monde » fund.


L'institut français, LAB