Madame Satã

"incendiary...true grit, blind rage and sheer fabulousness..."
Jason Anderson, EYE WEEKLY
"There is no denying the incendiary power of Ramos s performance..."
"... takes you deeper into the soul of its title character and his desperate world than you imagined a movie could go."
Stephen Holden, NEW YORK TIMES


Madame Satã is inspired by the legends and myths built around the real life character João Francisco dos Santos (1900-1976), also known as Madame Satã. The film is set in the 1930s, in the bohemian neighborhood of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro, as João Francisco is about to achieve his dream: becoming a stage star. A tall black man - a Brazilian version of Genet - a proud rascal, female impersonator, gangster, convicted prisoner and adoptive father, João Francisco spent most of his life in the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Aïnouz's first feature is as feverish as its protagonist. Throughout the film we get to know the cast of characters who surround João Francisco in the sordid yet lively world of Lapa, a cast of pimps, prostitutes, samba composers and bohemians. The film takes us on an intimate journey into the day-to-day life of João Francisco and his close friends, focusing on the crucial period immediately before the Madame Satã myth was created.
Original Languages: Portuguese
Genre: Drama|World Cinema
Running Time: 105 min.
Year: 2002


Lázaro Ramos (João Francisco dos Santos/Madame Satã)
Karim Aïnouz


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Lázaro Ramos as João Francisco (aka Madame Satã)
Lázaro Ramos as João Francisco (aka Madame Satã)
Left to right: Lázaro Ramos as João Francisco (aka Madame Satã), Giovanna Barbosa as Firmina, Marcélia Cartaxo as Laurita
Lázaro Ramos as João Francisco (aka Madame Satã)
Director Karim Aïnouz