Mato seco em chamas

Dry Ground Burning
When the flare lights up the night sky, that is how they know the gasoline is ready for sale, the men on the motorbikes who collect the canisters from the fearless Chitara, her sister Léa and their all-female gang, the sample fuel still burning out on the ground. From the watchtower of their makeshift oil refinery, you can see the lights of Brasília in the distance, although Sol Nascente, one of the continent’s biggest favelas, is a world unto itself, a real setting still ineluctably cinematic. The arid landscape and merciless shootings conjure up the atmosphere of a Western or even a heist movie, although the fortified police car that patrols the streets seems straight out of science fiction. When the women bump and grind on the bus, dance at a block party or chant slogans on their political party’s election truck, it is difficult not to think of a musical too, albeit one with a healthy dollop of queerness. Yet one genre hits harder than all the rest, and the power of documentary should never be underestimated. Lived-in locations, unstaged protests against Bolsonaro, non-professional actors playing versions of themselves: when you peel away the fiction, there is nothing like real life.
by Adirley Queirós, Joana Pimenta
with Joana Darc, Léa Alves, Andreia Vieira, Débora Alencar, Gleide Firmino
Brazil / Portugal 2022 Portuguese 153’ Colour


  • Joana Darc
  • Léa Alves
  • Andreia Vieira
  • Débora Alencar
  • Gleide Firmino


Written and Directed by Adirley Queirós, Joana Pimenta
Cinematography Joana Pimenta
Editing Cristina Amaral
Music Muleka 100 Calcinha
Sound Design Fernando Henna, Daniel Turini
Sound Francisco Craesmeyer, Vitor Brandão
Production Design Denise Vieira
Production Managers João Niza, Luana Otto, Andreia Queirós
Producer Adirley Queirós
Co-Producer João Matos
Co-Production Terratreme Lissabon, Portugal
Executive Producer Simone Gonçalves

Produced by

Cinco da Norte

Adirley Queirós

Born in 1970 in Brazil. After ten years as a professional football player, he completed a degree in film studies. Since 2005, he has made a number of films, including Branco Sai, Preto Fica (2014) and Era uma vez Brasília (2017), which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival.


2005 Rap, o canto da Ceilândia; 15 min. 2008 Fora de Campo; 52 min. 2009 Dias de Greve; 24 min. 2011 A cidade é uma só? (Is the City Only One?); 79 min. 2014 Branco Sai, Preto Fica (White Out, Black In); 93 min. · Meu nome é Maninho (My Name Is Maninho); 14 min. 2017 Era uma vez Brasília (Once There Was Brasília); 100 min. 2022 Mato seco em chamas (Dry Ground Burning); 153 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022

Joana Pimenta

Born in 1986 in Portugal. She studied film and critical media practice at Harvard, where she currently teaches film. As a director, Joana Pimenta is closely affiliated with the Sensory Ethnography Lab. Her short film Um campo de aviação (2016) premiered at Locarno and was shown at numerous international festivals.


2014 As figuras gravadas na faca com a seiva das bananeiras (The Figures Carved into the Knife by the Sap of the Banana Trees); 17 min. 2016 Um campo de aviação (An Aviation Field); 14 min. 2022 Mato seco em chamas (Dry Ground Burning); 153 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022