The Edge of Democracy

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A cautionary tale for these times of democracy in crisis - the personal and political fuse to explore one of the most dramatic periods in Brazilian history. Combining unprecedented access to leaders past and present, including Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva, with accounts of her own family's complex political and industrial past, filmmaker Petra Costa (ELENA) witnesses their rise and fall and the tragically polarized nation that remains.


  • Dilma Rousseff
  • Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
  • Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva
  • Sergio Moro
  • Jovair Arantes
  • José Eduardo Cardozo
  • Eduardo Cunha
  • Carlos Henrique Gaguim
  • Paulo Maluf
  • Roberto Requião

Did You Know?


  • On June 2019, documents furnished exclusively to news publication The Intercept revealed serious ethical violations and legally prohibited collaboration between the judge and prosecutors who convicted and imprisoned former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on corruption charges: former judge Sergio Moro (now Minister of Justice) repeatedly counseled prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol via Telegram during more than two years of the operation. The conversations show that prosecution had serious doubts about whether there was sufficient evidence to establish Lula's guilt. In other messages Moro stands against investigating a former right-wing president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, as his support could be important to them.
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Jun 19, 2019

A mournful but clear-eyed look at one of the many governments on the planet currently either going to or simmering in Hell, Petra Costa's The Edge of Democracy is as much essay film as a primer on Brazil's recent history.

Metacritic review by John DeFore
John DeFore
The Hollywood Reporter
Jun 19, 2019

Costa’s use of news footage, tapes of incriminating conversations that were made public and acts of self-serving betrayal gives The Edge Of Democracy the feel of an All The President’s Men-style political thriller. Further revelations about her own family and the allegiances of earlier generations turn that aspect of the story into something with the sweep of The Godfather.

Allan Hunter
Screen Daily
Jun 18, 2019

In laying out the facts, Costa is, for the most part, posing a series of sad questions rather than supplying the answers; in truth, she may not know whether she’s documenting a stormy political era or chronicling the end of something.

Metacritic review by Steve Pond
Steve Pond