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Portuguese Language, Literature and Culture

This guide is under construction.

Video at UBC Library

UBC Library provides access to many films. Films are available on DVD, VHS and streamed online.

UBC Vancouver faculty, staff and students can book UBC Library videos, films or DVDs for individual use or for classroom presentation on a specific date.  Instructions on how to place a Media Booking request are available here.

UBC Okanagan faculty, staff and students can book UBC Library videos, films, or DVDs by contacting:

Streaming Video via UBC Library


Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video service for educational institutions that provides access to more than 26,000 films each year. Kanopy works directly with filmmakers and film distribution companies to offer award-winning collections including titles from PBS, BBC, Criterion Collection, Media Education Foundation and more. Search by language or film name or browse by collection (e.g. Latin American Studies).

Criterion On Demand - feature films from theCriterion Collection, including feature film producers, including, but not limited to: 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, DreamWorks SKG, Mongrel Media, Sony Pictures Classics, Alliance Films, Miramax Films, Warner Brothers, Lionsgate Films, The Weinstein Company, as well as a smaller number of independent producers. Our title selection includes 1920 classics, new releases, foreign films, literary adaptations, documentaries, animated titles, and independent features.


Selected Films in Portuguese at UBC Library


 Bacurau, 2019 - A film by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles

A few years from now, Bacurau, a small village in the Brazilian sertoão, mourns the loss of its matriarch, Carmelita, who lived to be 94. Days later, its inhabitants notice that their village has literally vanished from online maps and a UFO-shaped drone is seen flying overhead. There are forces that want to expel them from their homes, and soon, in a genre-bending twist, a band of armed mercenaries led by Udo Kier arrive in town picking off the inhabitants one by one.

 Aquarius, 2016 - A film by Kleber Mendonça Filho

Clara, a vibrant former music critic, avid swimmer, grandmother, cancer survivor, willing lover and widow with flowing tresses, is the only remaining apartment owner in a gracious older building targeted for demolition by ruthless luxury high-rise developers. As the builders tactics to remove Clara become increasingly hostile, Clara proves to be a force to be reckoned with.

 The Second Mother, 2015 - A film by Anna Muylaert

[Que horas ela volta?] Val spends 13 years working as nanny to Fabinho in São Paulo. She is financially stable but has to live with the guilt of having left her daughter Jessica, in Pernambuco, in the north of Brazil, raised by relatives. As college entrance exams roll around, Jessica wants to come to Sao Paulo to take her college entrance exams too. When Jessica arrives, cohabitation is not easy. Everyone will be affected by the personality and candor of the girl and Val finds herself right in the middle of it.

 City of God, 2002 - A film by Fernando Meirelles

[Cidade de Deus] Brazil, 1960's, City of God. The Tender Trio robs motels and gas trucks. Younger kids watch and learn well...too well. 1970's: Li'l Z has prospered very well and owns the city. He causes violence and fear as he wipes out rival gangs without mercy. His best friend Ben is the only one to keep him on the good side of sanity. Rocket has watched these two gain power for years, and he wants no part of it. Yet he keeps getting swept up in the madness. All he wants to do is take pictures. 1980's: Things are out of control between the last two remaining gangs...will it ever end? Welcome to the City of God.

 The Salt of the Earth, 2014 - A film by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado

 This French documentary portraits Sebastião Salgado, a Brazilian awarded photographer. For the last 40 years, Sebastião has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, of wild fauna and flora, and of grandiose landscapes as part of a huge photographic project, which is a tribute to the planet's beauty. Sebastião Salgado's life and work are revealed to us by his son, Juliano, who went with him during his last travels, and by Wim Wenders, himself a photographer.

 To the Left of the Father, 2006 - A film by Luiz Fernando Carvalho

[Lavoura Arcaica] A young man runs away from his devout religious family when he becomes attracted to his sister.

The Year my Parents went on Vacation, 2006 - A film by Cão Hamburguer

[O ano em que meus pais saíram de férias] It's 1970 in Brazil. While most eyes are on the World Cup and Pele, a young boy named Chauro is about to watch his life turn upside down. Brought into the world by a leftist couple, a political upheaval forces his parents into the shadows and sends him to a new neighbourhood and a new life with a friend of his grandparents. In his new surroundings, Chauro must fight against his lack of immediate family by embracing his new life and the other people in the community.

 Carandiru, 2003 - A film by Hector Babenco

Set in São Paulo's House of Detention, locally known as Carandiru. An oncologist arrives at the jail to test patients for HIV infection. Seeing the disease, overcrowding, and rampant circulation of drugs, the doctor comes to realize the internal power structure among the prisoners. Narratives develop, including the attempted murder of Dagger, the solitary confinement of Chico, and the romance between Lady Di and Too Bad. The doctor eventually begins to see the prisoners as survivors. Culminates with a violent conclusion: a dramatization of the October 2, 1992 prison riot known as the Carandiru Massacre, in which 111 prisoners are killed.

 Behind the Sun, 2001 - A film by Walter Salles

[Abril Despedaçado] "Behind the Sun" concerns two families and their long-running land war, which has robbed many a young man of his hope, love and, ultimately, life. Sent by his aggrieved father to avenge the slaying of an older brother, Tonho, in torment, carries out his bloody, ancestral obligation and then proposes a truce between the families.

Lusophone Africa

 Hollow City, 2004 - A film by Maria João Ganga

 [Na Cidade Vazia] Set in the aftermath of the Angolan revolution and the devastating results, this film chronicles the impact on even the most innocent. Orphaned at age 11, Ndala arrives in Luanda on a military transport plane filled with other children in the same situation. During the confusion of arrival, he runs away and begins his journey through the unfamiliar and un-welcoming city. Ndala meets Z, an older boy who shares the epic story of a young warrior. Z and his friends, who drift amongst the Luanda homeless, fascinate Ndala and he is tragically pulled into their existence of survival. Maria Joo Ganga presents contrasting visual styles that reflect Ndalas journey. His discovery of the seaside is bathed in brilliant blues and yellows reflecting the purity of sea and sky, in contrast with his connection to Z, bringing him into a clandestine world of interiors with dilapidated apartments and smoky, ramshackle bars redolent of perpetual night


 Mysteries of Lisbon, 2011 - A film by Raúl Ruiz

 [Mistérios de Lisboa] The core story centers on João, the bastard child of an ill-fated romance between two members of the aristocracy who are forbidden to marry, and his quest to discover the truth of his parentage. But this is just the start of an engrossing tale that follows a multitude of characters whose fates conjoin, separate and then rejoin again over three decades in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy.

 Tabu, 2012 - A film by Miguel Gomes

Filmed in black and white, the film is divided into two parts, the first half takes up the story from the point of view of Pilar, a middle-aged political activist whose neighbor Aurora is a senile old lady with a gambling addiction and a propensity to tell colorful tales about her past in Mozambique. As Aurora's health starts to decline, she asks Pilar, her deceased neighbor's maid, to track down a man called Ventura, with whom she had a passionate affair as a newly-married young woman. The second part of the film details the affair between the beautiful young Aurora and her Portuguese lover, revealing their secret passion that unfolded in Africa in her past life as a farm owner at the foothill of Mount Tabu in Africa over half a century previously.

 Cavalo dinheiro: Horse Money, 2016 - A film by Pedro Costa

The time is now, a numbing and timeless present of hospital stays, bureaucratic questioning, and wandering through remembered spaces, and suddenly it is also then, the mid '70s and the time of Portugal's Carnation Revolution, when Ventura got into a knife fight with his friend Joaquim.