Cinema going audiences in Rio de Janeiro had the opportunity during the 20thedition of Festival do Rio, which took place from 1 to 11 Novemberto watch more than 200 films from 60 countries in 20 locations across the city. The films included some of the most critically acclaimed and talked about movies of 2018, as well as many lost treasures from the past.

The city was also visited over the festival’s ten days by filmmakers from both sides of the camera, as well as industry executives who were involved in presentations, seminars, discussions and workshops linked to the festival and RioMarket.

Among the acclaimed international directors whose work featured at this year’s festival were Lars Von Trier (“The House That Jack Built”, with Uma Thurman); Gus Van Sant (“Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot”, with Joaquin Phoenix); Jean-Luc Godard (“The Image Book”); Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”); Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”); Jafar Panahi (“Three Faces”); Frederick Wiseman (“Morovia, Indiana”); Julian Schnabel (“At Eternity’s Gate”, with Willem Dafoe); Hong Sangsoo (“Grass” and “Hotel By the River”); Nadine Labaki (“Capernaum”); Olivier Assayas (“Double Lives”, with Juliette Binoche), Pablo Trapero (“The Quietude”); Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”); Dominga Sotomayor (“Too Late To Die Young”);  João Canijo (“Fátima”); Teresa Villaverde(“O Termômetro de Galileu”); Julius Avery(“Overlord”); Emir Kusturica (“El Pepe, Una Vida Suprema”); Juan Vera(“An Unexpected Love”, with Ricardo Darin); Ryusuke Hamaguchi (“Asako I”& “II”); Denys Arcand (“The Fall of the American Empire”); and Steve McQueen (“Widows”, with Viola Davis and Colin Farrell, which is scheduled to open the festival), among others.

Other notable films screening during the festival included the new version of John Lennon and Yoho Ono’s "Imagine"; the documentary "Kusama – Infinity" by Heather Lenz (Kusama is known as the ‘princess of polka dots’ and, at the age of 89, considered an icon of Japanese pop art; "Ferrante Fever" by Giacomo Durzi, about the enigmatic Italian writer Elena Ferrante; "RBG" by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, a look at the American Justice of the US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who at 85 years of age has become popular with a younger following; "Touch Me Not" by Adina Pintilie, winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin; "Shoplifters" by Hirokazu Koreeda, winner of the Palme d’Or in Cannes; and "Burning" by Lee Chang-dong, an adaptation of a short story, “Barn Burning”, by Haruki Murakami and winner of the Fipresci critics’ prize in Cannes.

The festival also screened 84 films from Brazil across its various sections, including Première Brasil, one of the most anticipated and popular sections of Festival do Rio, and the main competitive section. The Première Brasil gala screenings took place at Estação NET Gávea, Estação NET Botafogo and the Centro Cultural LSR – Odeon NET/CLARO in Rio’s historic Cinelandia. Audiences also had the chance to meet and discuss the films with their filmakers and cast members during Première Brasil Debates which took place in the Centro Cultural LSR Cine Odeon, NET/CLARO and Estação NET Rio

Concerts and Secret Pleasures

As well as screening films and the discussions surrounding them, the festival also scheduled two special events linking music and cinema.

On Saturday, 3 November the Petrobras Symphonic Orchestra, that last year performed the music from the films of Tim Burton, performed an homage to the popular musicals of the 1970s and 1980s with a concert at the Teatro Rival Petrobras that covered songs from the multi-million selling soundtracks of “Grease”, “Dirty Dancing”, “Saturday Night Fever” and “Xanadu”, among others.

The Festival do Rio also extended its relationship with the record label Biscoito Fino by launching SOFAR SOUNDS Rio de Janeiro. This “secret” and intimate gig took place during the festival in an unusual setting bringing together festival participants with artists from the label.

Festival HQ + RioMarket

CASA FIRJAN, in Botafogo, was the new Festival do Rio HQ for 2018 and also housed the activities of the audiovisual industry area of the festival, RioMarket, as well as being the location for debates, master classes and other events open to the public. 

SESC Screenings

Festival do Rio, with the support of SESC RIO, also screened six Brazilian films for free at four SESC locations across Rio (Nova Iguaçu, São Gonçalo, Tijuca and Madureira).

For more news about Festival do Rio you can follow the festival and RioMarket on their web sites (; Facebook ( or Twitter (@RioFilmFest / @RioMarket) pages.