Nelson Pereira dos Santos

Nelson Pereira dos Santos (22 October 1928 21 April 2018) was a Brazilian film director. He directed films such as Vidas Secas (Barren Lives), based on the book with the same name by Brazilian writer Graciliano Ramos.

Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Born(1928-10-22)22 October 1928
Died21 April 2018(2018-04-21) (aged 89)
OccupationFilm director
Years active1955–2018


Pereira dos Santos was born in São Paulo, Brazil. The first feature film he directed was Rio 40°, which was released in 1955. The film is a chronicle of life in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and it influenced several other directors, spurring the Cinema Novo movement. In 1963, Pereira dos Santos was a member of the jury at the 3rd Moscow International Film Festival.[1] In 1981 he was a member of the jury at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival.[2]

His most well-known film outside Brazil is Como Era Gostoso o Meu Francês (How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman, 1971). It was entered into the 21st Berlin International Film Festival.[3] The film takes place in the sixteenth century and details the alleged cannibalistic practices of the (now extinct) indigenous Tupinamba warrior tribe against the French and Portuguese colonizers of the Brazilian littoral. The film is something of a black comedy about European colonialism—one that makes satirical use of the Brazilian modernist trope of Antropofagia ("cultural cannibalism"), then recently revived by the Tropicalismo movement of the 1960s—as well as a bitter commentary on the historical genocide of the indigenous tribes in Latin America and the gradual destruction of their civilization.

His 1994 film The Third Bank of the River was entered into the 44th Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

Pereira dos Santos' 2006 film Brasília 18% explores some of the darker aspects of contemporary Brazilian politics such as political corruption, the murder of trial witnesses, and money laundering.

Pereira dos Santos was a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2006.[5]


Pereira dos Santos died of multiple organ failure in Rio de Janeiro on 12 April 2018. He was 89.[5]

Selected filmography


  • Darlene J. Sadlier: Nelson Pereira dos Santos (Contemporary Film Directors), University of Illinois Press, 2003, ISBN 0-252-07112-3


  1. "3rd Moscow International Film Festival (1963)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  2. "12th Moscow International Film Festival (1981)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2013-01-21.
  3. " Awards for How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman". Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  4. "Berlinale: 1994 Programme". Retrieved 2011-12-29.
  5. "Morre aos 89 anos o cineasta Nelson Pereira dos Santos" (in Portuguese). O Globo. 21 April 2018. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
Preceded by
Sérgio Correia da Costa

Brazilian Academy of Letters - Occupant of the 7th chair

2006 — 2018
Succeeded by
Cacá Diegues
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