9 Portuguese and Brazilian Movies You Need to Watch on Netflix
We all love a good blockbuster, and our Lusophone neighbors know how to make some interesting flicks.
The best thing is, you don’t have to scour through the darkest corners of the web to watch these gems.
Allow Netflix to lead you towards Portuguese-language fluency.
- 5 Movies on Netflix from Portugal All Learners Should Be Streaming
- 4 Brazilian Flicks to Put on Your Netflix Watch List
- Learning Portuguese with Netflix Movies
5 Movies on Netflix from Portugal All Learners Should Be Streaming
“Capitães de Abril” (April Captains)
Genre: Drama, History
Produced in Portugal, Spain and Italy, “Capitães de Abril” is set during the 24 hours of Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, a military coup d’état on April 25, 1974 to overthrow the right-wing Portuguese dictatorship.
A dramatization loosely based on key events of the revolution, the movie also features characters based on real people (Captain Salgueiro Maia and Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano). The movie’s main focus, however, is on three main characters: two military captains and a woman who works as a journalist and literature teacher.
“Juventude em Marcha” (Colossal Youth)
This film follows 75-year-old Ventura, a Cape Verde immigrant who is forced to relocate into the outskirts of Lisbon after the Portuguese government destroyed the slums in which he resided. His wife having left him long ago, Ventura attempts to adapt to his new life and home. Over the course of 155 minutes, Ventura comes face to face with his own sense of identity as he reconnects with other people from his past.
“Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto” (Our Beloved Month of August)
Considered to be a hybrid of documentary and fiction, “Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto” captures the relationship dynamics of a Portuguese immigrant family on vacation in their homeland. Father, daughter and nephew come together to play in the band “Estrelas do Alva” (Stars of Alva) as they party during the summertime. They’re spotted by a group of filmmakers who, after a failed attempt at producing a work of fiction, start looking for actors for another project.
“Singularidades de uma Rapariga Loura” (Eccentricities of a Blond-haired Girl)
This movie is a modern take on a classic short story with the same name by Portuguese author Eça de Queiroz. On a train trip to Camboio, Macário tells a stranger the story of how he fell in love with a blond woman who lived across the street from his workplace. After being fired by his uncle, Macário moves to Cape Verde, becomes a wealthy man and returns to his native Lisbon to marry the blond woman he was besotted with. Alas, her peculiarities turn his life upside down.
“Coisa Ruim” (Bad Blood)
Also known by the English-language name “Blood Curse,” “Coisa Ruim” follows a wealthy family who inherited a beautiful country house in a small village. Their new community has a strong affinity with the occult, and soon a number of logic-defying events start happening to the family. The village priest reveals that a horrific curse has been wrought upon the village. This movie is the first horror feature film made in Portugal.
4 Brazilian Flicks to Put on Your Netflix Watch List
“O Ano em que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias” (The Year My Parents Went on Vacation)
The film is centered around a few months of 12-year-old Mauro Stein’s life in the 1970s. The son of two political activists residing in Belo Horizonte, Mauro’s parents decide to take the boy to São Paulo to live with his grandfather as they escape from the repressive military regime, telling the boy they wanted to go on vacation.
Unfortunately, the grandfather passes away, so the boy is put under the care of his Jewish neighbor. “O Ano em que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias” was submitted for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2007.
“Histórias que Só Existem Quando Lembradas” (Found Memories)
Everything has its place in the fictional, remote small town of Jotoumba. The impoverished, rural town seems on the brink of disappearing once the last member of the aged population passes on. The bread maker, the coffee maker, church goers and town dwellers all follow the same daily routine until a visiting photographer becomes intent on capturing the local village life.
After a bit of hesitation, the town’s dwellers let Rita, the young photographer, into their world. More than a decade younger than any other person she meets, Rita is fascinated by the citizens of the village. She connects with the bread maker, Madalena, who seems to share Rita’s appreciation of still images.
“A Casa de Alice” (Alice’s House)
Alice is a 40-something manicurist from São Paulo who lives in an apartment with her mother, husband and three children. She shows little emotion apart from resignation to her life and circumstances.
Her already tumultuous life is brought to a standstill after she discovers her husband has been having a number of extra-marital affairs—with both women and men. We can’t help but feel a little sympathetic towards Alice as secrets are uncovered and she comes face-to-face with temptation herself.
“O Caminho das Nuvens” (The Middle of the World)
Romão is the main protagonist of this film. He’s an unemployed man who lives in Paraíba, in the northeast region of Brazil, with his family. In the pursuit of a better life for himself and his loved ones, Romão decides to cycle 2000 miles to Rio de Janeiro in order to find work—with his wife and five children in tow. On four bikes and through five states, the film is adapted from a true story of an unemployed truck driver who sought a way out of impoverished circumstances.
Learning Portuguese with Netflix Movies
Never discount the learning potential of your favorite forms of entertainment.
Similar to cartoons, songs, podcasts and radio stations, movies can be your gateway towards immersive learning.
All you have to do is get creative with how you tap into this awesome resource. So here are a few quick tips to get those reels rolling.
Always ease yourself into active listening. Turn on the subtitles, but only use them until you’re feeling confident with your listening skills. In other words, don’t become too dependent on those English-language translations on your screen.
Definitely supplement your knowledge with the resources you have at your disposal. Supplementing movies with resources like language courses or immersion programs helps you get a well-rounde language learning experience. As you watch movies, if you come across new words, you can use a program like FluentU to find out more information using the contextual video dictionary. While you’re there, FluentU will also provide you with plenty of additional video context for learning through authentic Brazilian Portuguese videos.
When you’re still at the early stages, read up on a movie synopsis (try searching Wikipedia or IMDB if you’re looking for additional information) to ensure you’re not getting lost in translation. Similarly, watching the previews on YouTube will not only help you get the gist of things, it’ll also provide you with a bit more listening practice.
Finally, remember that language learning is meant to be fun—so, make the most of it! Browse through Nexflix and try to watch as many movies as you can. To help you get inspired, here are a few recommendations for both Brazilian and European Portuguese learners.
And that’s a wrap! We’ve given you more than enough to keep you busy, right? For a few more movies to watch in your own time, check out some of our previous suggestions. Enjoy making your Portuguese learning experience more authentic and memorable!