A Rainha Diaba

The Devil Queen
The Black gay “Devil’s Queen” (her real name is never mentioned) rules the underworld of Rio de Janeiro from the back room of a brothel. Her eyes thick with green eyeshadow, her gaze falls mercilessly upon the members of her drug cartel. The same jackknife can be used either to shave her legs or to slit open traitors. But her reign of terror is unstable; resistance is brewing. Soon, everyone is waging war against each other to replace the queen: the favela gangsters against the gays, the drag queens against the sex workers. People with few chances in bourgeois life.
Fontoura’s garish pulp construction stands for popular Brazilian cinema during the military dictatorship, whereby power relations were exaggerated in nihilistic fashion. Much like in Karim Aïnouz’s Madame Satã (2002), legendary 1930s gangster figure João Francisco dos Santos serves here as an inspiration, who this time is transposed into the 1970s as an early representation of queerness. Milton Gonçalves plays her with various voices, and the dichotomous concept of masculinity – which allows no shades of grey between macho and queen – dissolves here into glitter and air.
by Antonio Carlos da Fontoura
with Milton Gonçalves, Stepan Nercessian, Odete Lara, Nelson Xavier, Wilson Grey, Iara Cortes, Procopio Mariano, Lutero Luis, Carlos Prieto, Haroldo de Oliveira
Brazil 1973 Portuguese 99’ Colour Restored by CinemaScópio and Cinelimite


  • Milton Gonçalves
  • Stepan Nercessian
  • Odete Lara
  • Nelson Xavier
  • Wilson Grey
  • Iara Cortes
  • Procopio Mariano
  • Lutero Luis
  • Carlos Prieto
  • Haroldo de Oliveira


Director Antonio Carlos da Fontoura
Written by Antonio Carlos da Fontoura
Cinematography José Medeiros
Editing Rafael Valverde
Music Guilherme Vaz
Sound Design Antonio Carlos da Fontoura
Sound Alberto Vianna
Production Design Angelo de Aquino
Costumes Angelo de Aquino
Make-Up Carlos Prieto
Casting Emiliano Ribeiro
Assistant Director Emiliano Ribeiro
Production Manager Antonio Calmon
Executive Producer Mauricio Nabuco
Producer Roberto Farias
Associate Producer Antonio Carlos da Fontoura

Additional information

Restored by CinemaScópio and Cinelimite

Antonio Carlos da Fontoura

Born in São Paulo, Brazil in 1939, he studied geology and film. Antonio Carlos da Fontoura has written, directed and produced numerous films and television series. He has also authored two plays and a novel.


1965 Heitor dos Prazeres; 13 min. 1966 Ver Ouvir (To See, to Listen); 18 min. 1968 Copacabana Me Engana (Copacabana Is Mine); 93 min. 1970 Mutantes (The Mutants); 10 min. · Meu Nome é Gal (My Mame Is Gal); 10 min. 1973 A Rainha Diaba (The Devil Queen); 99 min. 1974 Chorinhos e Chorões (Chorinhos and Chorões); 11 min. 1977 Cordão De Ouro (The Golden Necklace); 75 min. 1982 Brasília, Segundo Cavalcanti (Brasilia By Cavalcanti); 18 min. 1984 Espelho de Carne (Flesh Mirror); 95 min. 1988 Uma Aventura do Zico (Zicos’ Adventure); 90 min. 2005 No Meio da Rua (The Game Boys); 82 min. 2006 Gatão de Meia Idade (Middle Age Cat); 93 min. · O Rapto Das Cebolinhas (The Kidnapping Of The Chives); 15 min. 2010 Faca Sem Ponta, Galinha Sem Pé (Blunt Knife); 13 min. 2013 Somos Tão Jovens (We Are So Young); 104 min. 2015 Casa Roberto Marinho (Roberto Marinho House); 18 min. 2019 Ver Ouvir Roberto Magalhães (See Listen Roberto Magalhães); 26 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023