Madame Satã
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A story inspired by the life of one of the most remarkable figures in Brazilian popular culture, João Francisco dos Santos (1900-1976). In turn, bandit, transvestite, street fighter, brothel cook, convict and father to seven adopted children, dos Santos--better known as "Madame Satã"--was also a notorious gay performer who pushed social boundaries in a volatile time. The story begins in 1932, in Rio de Janeiro's bohemian Lapa district, when João Francisco is about to achieve his dream: becoming a stage star. In the sordid yet lively world of Lapa--populated by pimps, prostitutes… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Often captivating."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"It's a vivid, emotionally charged snapshot that makes no apologies or excuses for Madame's behavior and lifestyle."
‑ Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News
"The film's non-dramatic but exhilarating finale is what clings most memorably."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"Erotic, violent and bursting with colour."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
"Rough-hewn and vigorous, Karim Aïnouz's first feature film tells the story about an illiterate 1930s drag queen... and it's surprisingly good."
‑ David Foucher, EDGE Boston
"A myopic, histrionic picture that never lets us know why this legendary character is legendary, and worthy of our attention."
‑ Erik Lundegaard, Seattle Times
"Madame Sata is only a chapter in Francisco's story, and even that feels incomplete."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"Ainouz' script and style seem unwilling to explore below the surface. He embraces the story's physical details...without revealing much of his subject's soul."
‑ Jay Antani, Los Angeles Alternative
"An amateurish muddle, and a whole different kind of a drag."
‑ William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Worth catching for the photography and for Làzaro Ramos' performance."
‑ Jon Popick, Planet Sick-Boy
"Director Karim Ainouz's film draws you in close."
‑ Curt Fields, Washington Post
"A one-note take on a complex subject."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"Actor Ramos brings an extraordinary intensity and focus to this contradictory role, changing emotions and actions on a dime."
‑ Kent Turner,
"While the depiction of the Lapa district and the details of repressed homosexual life in Rio 10 years ago is always intriguing, we come away learning very little about the individual known as Madame Satã."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"You get nothing about what makes his life so interesting."
‑ Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone,
More reviews for Madame Satã on Rotten Tomatoes