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Mato seco em chamas

Dry Ground Burning
A young woman stands at the side of a window made of fluted glass and looks out. The image is bathed in yellowish light.
© Cinco da Norte, Terratreme Filmes
  • Director

    Adirley Queirós, Joana Pimenta

  • Brazil, Portugal / 2022
    153 min. / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language


When the flare lights up the night sky, that’s how they know the gasoline is ready for sale, the men on the motorbikes who collect the canisters from the fearless Chitara, her sister Léa and their all-female gang, the sample fuel still burning out on the ground. From the watchtower of their makeshift oil refinery, you can see the lights of Brasília in the distance, although Sol Nascente, one of the continent’s biggest favelas, is a world unto itself, a real setting still ineluctably cinematic. The arid landscape and merciless shootings conjure up the atmosphere of a Western or even a heist movie, although the fortified police car that patrols the streets seems straight out of science fiction. When the women bump and grind on the bus, dance at a block party or chant slogans on their political party’s election truck, it’s difficult not to think of a musical too, albeit one with a healthy dollop of queerness. Yet one genre hits harder than all the rest, and the power of documentary should never be underestimated. Lived-in locations, unstaged protests against Bolsonaro, non-professional actors playing versions of themselves: when you peel away the fiction, there’s nothing like real life. (James Lattimer)

Adirley Queirós, born in 1970 in Brazil. After ten years as a professional football player, he completed a degree in film studies. Since 2005, he has made a number of films, including Branco Sai, Preto Fica (2014) and Era uma vez Brasília (2017), which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.

Joana Pimenta, born in 1986 in Portugal. She studied film and critical media practice at Harvard, where she currently teaches film. As a director she is closely affiliated with the Sensory Ethnography Lab. Her short film Um campo de aviação (2016) premiered at Locarno and was shown at numerous international festivals.

Production Adirley Queirós. Production company Cinco da Norte (Brasilia, Brazil). Written and directed by Adirley Queirós, Joana Pimenta. Cinematography Joana Pimenta. Editing Cristina Amaral. Music Muleka 100 Calcinha. Sound design Fernando Henna, Daniel Turini. Sound Francisco Craesmeyer, Vitor Brandão. Production design Denise Vieira. Production managers João Niza, Luana Otto, Andreia Queirós. Co-producer João Matos. Co-production Terratreme. Executive producer Simone Gonçalves. With Joana Darc, Léa Alves, Andreia Vieira, Débora Alencar, Gleide Firmino.


Adirley Queirós: 2005: Rap, o canto da Ceilândia (15 min.). 2008: Fora de Campo (52 min.). 2009: Dias de Greve (24 min.). 2011: A cidade é uma só? / Is the City Only One? (79 min.). 2014: Branco Sai, Preto Fica / White Out, Black In (93 min.), Meu nome é Maninho / My Name Is Maninho (14 min.). 2017: Era uma vez Brasília / Once There Was Brasília (100 min.). 2022: Mato seco em chamas / Dry Ground Burning.

Joana Pimenta: 2014: As figuras gravadas na faca com a seiva das bananeiras / The Figures Carved into the Knife by the Sap of the Banana Trees (17 min.). 2016: Um campo de aviação / An Aviation Field (14 min.). 2022: Mato seco em chamas / Dry Ground Burning.

Bonus Material

  • Still from the film "Mato seco em chamas (Dry Ground Burning)" by Adirley Queirós and Joana Pimenta. A close-up of a woman at night. Some lights in the background.


    In her essay “Bodies in Flames” Libertad Gills writes on the political  subversions of Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós’ MATO SECO EM CHAMAS

  • Still from the film "Mato seco em chamas (Dry Ground Burning)" by Adirley Queirós and Joana Pimenta. Several people on motorcycles ride in formation through a housing estate on an unpaved street. A woman holds up a banner.

    Directors' Statement

    Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós on how MATO SECO EM CHAMAS forces the periphery into the centre.

Forum Program 2022

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur