// Presented as part of March's Spotlight on Brazil II Series //
Marco Dutra & Juliana Rojas / 2011, Cannes, BFI London, Brazilia, CPH:PIX, Festival de Cinema Luso-Brasileiro de Santa Maria da Feira, Havana, Lima, Mar del Plata, Paulínia, Sitges, SXSW, Vancouver, Vienna / 99'
Helena's dream is finally coming true—she has found the perfect location to open her neighborhood grocery store. Delighted to share the news with her husband, she arrives home to find him depleted; he has lost his job. Helena nonetheless ventures forth, while Otávio is subjected to a series of increasingly demoralizing interviews, and the creeping knowledge that he will never recover his white-collar status. Meanwhile, Helena senses something amiss in her grocery store; the space becomes a setting for strange occurrences, portends of the building's sinister past.
Blending neorealist class critique with elements of subdued horror, Hard Labor dissects both the material and supernatural implications of a middle-class couple slowly succumbing to precarity in a globalized world. Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra's first feature premiered at Cannes, SXSW, and Mar del Plata; Sitges, where it won Best Director; Paulínia, where it won Best Sound; Lima, where it won Best Actress; and Festival de Cinema Luso-Brasileiro de Santa Maria da Feir, where it won the Jury Award for Best Actor.