Betânia is 65 and a stalwart family matriarch. In the wake of her husband’s death, her daughters persuade her to move back to the village where she was born and where the rest of her family still live. The village lies on the edge of the sand dunes of the Lençóis Maranhenses national park in the Brazilian state of Maranhão, in a newly desertified region not so far from the Amazon. Betânia leaves behind her simple, agrarian lifestyle without electricity and arrives in a place where tradition and modernity collide. Pushed by the ancestral sound of Maranhão, Betânia and her family fight to maintain their sense of identity. Despite the imposing sand dunes, polluted water, financial hardship and intergenerational quarrels, life finds a way, as it always does.
In 2018, Marcelo Botta filmed a documentary in the Lençóis Maranhenses national park. In Betânia, he addresses the ecological and socio-cultural problems in the villages whose desert oases are threatened by the encroaching sands.
by Marcelo Botta
with Diana Mattos, Tião Carvalho, Caçula Rodrigues, Nádia D’Cássia, Ulysses Azevedo
Brazil 2024 Portuguese, French, Subtitles: English 120' Colour World premiere | Debut film


  • Diana Mattos (Betânia)
  • Tião Carvalho (Ribamar)
  • Caçula Rodrigues (Tonhão)
  • Nádia D’Cássia (Vitória)
  • Ulysses Azevedo (Antonio Filho)
  • Michelle Cabral (Irineusa)
  • Vitão Santiago (Xambim)
  • Enme Paixão (DJ Kaya)


DirectorMarcelo Botta
ScreenplayMarcelo Botta
CinematographyBruno Graziano
EditingMárcio Hashimoto
MusicMarcelo Botta, Tião Carvalho, Edivaldo Marquita, Misael Pereira, Henrique Menezes, A Barca
Sound DesignArmando Torres Jr., Caio Guerin, Martín Grignaschi
SoundRaoni Gruber
Production DesignMariana Cristal Hui
Make-UpMel Carabolante
CastingLuna Gandra, Marcelo Botta
ProducersGabriel Di Giacomo, Marcelo Botta
Executive ProducersLuciana Coelho, Isabel Abduch

Produced by

Salvatore Filmes

São Paulo, Brazil

World Sales

MPM Premium

Paris, France

Marcelo Botta

Born in 1984, the Brazilian filmmaker has explored storytelling cultures in over 20 countries in regions including the Amazon, Patagonia, the Andes, the Atacama Desert and the Caribbean in his documentary work. Betânia is his debut feature film.


2024 Betânia

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2024


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