A year with a difference for Festival do Rio, which in 2019 takes place in December, but a year in which Festival do Rio maintains its traditions, and guarantees that Rio de Janeiro and its loyal cinema going public can get to see a compact selection of around 100 international productions that include many cinematographic highlights from 2019 as well as some of the most anticipated films set for release in 2020. Movies for film buffs and audiences of every taste and age. And the festival will still offers its extensive window onto the most recent Brazilian productions that screen as part of Premiere Brasil.

Arturo Ripstein, Ken Loach, Terrence Mallick, Serge Losnitza, Lav Diaz, Clint Eastwood, Celine Schiamma, Jim Jarmusch, Christoph Honoré, Abel Ferrara, Ira Sachs, Marco Bellocchio, the Dardenne Brothers, Pedro Costa, Xavier Dolan, Werner Herzog, Marielle Heller, Robert Eggers, Alain Cavalier, and many other great directors, are all represented and have films screening. 

Films screening include award-winners, some of the year's most talked about and commented on productions, and rarities from the archives. Festival highlights include Greta Gerwig’s long-awaited Little Women, that will open the festival, and Jay Roach’s critically acclaimed Bombshell, featuring Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, about charges of sexual abuse filed against Fox News' Roger Ailes, that will close the festival. And the Toronto Festival-winning comedy JoJo Rabbit by Taika Waititi, with Scarlett Johansson, about a  little boy who has Hitler as an imaginary friend.

The latest works of award-winning directors are being shown during the festival, such as Ken Loach's Sorry We Missed You, Terrence Malick's A Hidden Life, Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell, Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die, Abel Ferrara's Tommaso, Christopher Honoré's On A magical Night,  Ira Sachs’s Frankie, with Isabelle Huppert, Rupert Goold’s Judy, with Renée Zellweger, Lav Diaz's The Halt, Xavier Dolan's Matthias & MaximeA Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Marielle Heller, with Tom Hanks, The Traitor by Marco Bellocchio, Family Romance by Werner Herzog, Vitalina Varela and In the bedroom of Vanda by Pedro Costa, Young Ahmed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, among others.

The festival selection also has:

  • great documentaries such as Sergei Loznitsa's State Funeral, Alain Cavalier's Être vivant et le savoir, Alan Elliott and Sydney Pollack's Amazing GraceDiego Maradona by Asif Kapadia, Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin by Werner Herzog, Citizen K by Alex Gibney, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Kim Longinotto's Shooting the Mafia, Victor Kossakovsky's AquarelaThe Capote Tapes by Ebs Burnough, The Kingmaker by Lauren Greenfield, and Memory - The Origins of Alie, by Alexandre O. Philippe
  • the year’s discoveries such as Alma Har'el's Honey Boy, Ladj Ly's Les Misérables, Oliver Laxe’s O que ardeDylda, by Kantemir Balagov, And Then We Dance by Levan Akin, John Nicholau's TechnobossLa virgen de agosto by Jonás Trueba, Sibyl by Justine Triet, Martin Eden by Pietro Marcello, Adam by Rhys Ernst, The Climb by Michael Covino, Campo by Tiago Hespanha, and Systemsprenger by Nora Fingscheidt;
  • successes from the world’s great festivals, such as Portrait de la jeune fille en feu by Céline Sciamma, Zombie Child by Bertrand Bonello, Robert Eggers' The LighthouseTenki no ko by Makoto Shinkai, It Must Be Heaven by Elia Suleiman, Family Romance, LLC by Werner Herzog, Ang hupa by Lav Diaz, Little Joe by Jessica Hausner, Synonymes by Nadav Lapid, Judy by Rupert Goold, Wasp Network by Olivier Assayas, Late Night by Nisha Ganatra, Gospod postoi, imeto i 'e Petrunija by Teona Strugar Mitevska and many others.
  • Star Wars fans are not left out and Festival do Rio will screen the two most recent episodes of the Star Wars saga: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, in collaboration with the numerous Jedi Council fans, as well as the premier of the latest Star Wars episode, J.J. Abrams’ Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker.
  • Watson Macedo's classic Aviso aos Navegantes, the first film restored by the Brazilian Cinema Research Center (CPCB), has a special screening at MAM's Cinematheque, which is followed by a panel discussing restoration.