When the body of a murdered trans woman is discovered in a soy field in Brazil, the death of the titular Madalena has ripple effects that lap at the people and even the natural landscape of her town. Mapping Madelena’s impact and thereby her character, value, and spirit through the ongoing lives of those she has left behind, Marcheti reimagines the way we examine tragedy, crime, and violence against trans women of color; in this piece with tenderness, softness, poetry, and deep, resounding empathy. Presenting three distinct perspectives of the central loss, the film is able to build a kaleidoscope through which we can look at grief and violence.
Set and filmed in the director’s rural Brazilian hometown, the natural landscape is imbued sometimes with exquisite beauty, sometimes with hearty agriculturalism, sometimes with an unsettling eeriness, and most poignantly with a sense of very much alive spirituality.
– Ash Hoyle, Damn These Heels Director of Programming
Madalena premiered at the 2021 International Film Festival Rotterdam in Tiger Competition and is Madiano Marcheti’s directorial debut.