Films & Schedules

  • Once Upon a Time in Rio
    Era Uma Vez

  • Breno Silveira

117 minutes

Production Company:
Conspiração Filmes/ Globo Filmes/Lereby/Sony Pictures
Executive Producer:
Eliana Soarez, Leonardo Monteiro de Barros, Luiz Noronha, Pedro Guimarães
Breno Silveira, Pedro Buarque de Hollanda
Patrícia Andrade
Production Designer:
Rafael Ronconi
Dudu Miranda, Paulo Souza
Eduardo Hartung
Renato Calaça, Valéria Ferro
Berna Ceppas
Principal Cast: Thiago Martins, Vitória Frate, Rocco Pitanga, Cyria Coentro, Paulo César Grande

Saturday September 0605:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Sunday September 0710:15AM AMC 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1307:00PM AMC 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

When Breno Silveira's first feature, Two Sons of Francisco, was released in 2005, it became Brazil's biggest box office hit in twenty-five years. Now Silveira returns to the screen with Once Upon a Time in Rio, his epic tale about two star-crossed lovers living in Rio de Janeiro's two-tiered society. Using the same tenderness and understanding that made his debut such a success, Silveira has created a compelling and timely film about the problems in his home country.

The Cantagalo slum in Rio overlooks the glamorous Ipanema beach, one of the most stunning views imaginable. Every day, many of Cantagalo's residents make their way down the mountain and become part of an invisible class that cleans Ipanema's apartments, waits on restaurant tables or serves passersby all along one of the world's most beautiful beaches.

Young Dé (Thiago Martins) lives alone with his mother Bernadete (Cyria Coentro). He belongs to this invisible class, working as a hot dog vendor at one of the stalls in Ipanema. His brother Beto was killed when he was a child, and his adopted brother Carlão (Rocco Pitanga) is in jail after being wrongly accused of a robbery – a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a racist society. One day at the beach, Dé meets Nina (Vitória Frate), the only child of a lawyer, Evandro (Paulo César Grande). They fall in love, despite coming from vastly different communities.

Unfolding like a fairy tale, Once Upon a Time in Rio is a tragic love story set in a city divided by economic privilege and prejudice. Through Dé and Nina's tale, Silveira explores the absurdity of a society in which people live in close proximity yet stand worlds apart.

Diana Sanchez

Breno Silveira was born in Brasília, Brazil, and studied cinematography at L'École Nationale Supérieure Louis-Lumière in Paris. He worked on several features as a cinematographer and directed music videos and advertisements before making his debut film, Two Sons of Francisco (05). Once Upon a Time in Rio (08) is his second feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award