Archive of films Santo Forte / Santo Forte

1997, 80 min

Section: New Brazilian Documentary
Year: 2002

In poor quarters of Rio de Janeiro, the Catholic faith blends with influences of primeval religions and African religious traditions. This film takes an open-minded look at religious syncretism in Brazil, at the coexistence of Catholics and Protestants and at the influence of faith on the everyday life of the inhabitants.


In the documentary Santo Forte, the inhabitants of the poor quarters of Rio de Janeiro speak openly about their beliefs and their relationship to their faith. Here, Catholicism and African religious traditions often blend freely with the region’s original religions. Many inhabitants of the favelas believe in reincarnation while venerating Christ, African deities and the souls of the dead. Thanks to the open attitudes of those interviewed, the film provides an engaging look at religious syncretism in Brazil, at Catholic and Protestant coexistence and at the influence of faith on the everyday life of the inhabitants.

About the director

Eduardo Coutinho has been working in film since the sixties, writing screenplays, directing both documentaries and features, and producing. Twenty Years Later (Cabra Marcado Para Morrer, 1984) won the Critics’ Prize at the Berlinale, the Grand Prix at the Paris festival, Best Documentary at the Havana festival, and was voted best Brazilian documentary of all time.

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: New Brazilian Documentary
Director: Eduardo Coutinho
Screenplay: Eduardo Coutinho
Dir. of Photography: Felipe Sá, Fabian Boal
Editor: Jordana Berg
Producer: Dinah Frotté
Production: Centro de Criacao de Imagem Popular c/o Grupo Novo de Cinema e TV

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