Elite Squad Movies and Sense of Agency in Brazil: How Fictional Narratives Contribute to Shaping Fans’ Realities?

Natalia Coimbra De Sá



This paper aims to analyze the reception José Padilha’s movies Elite Squad (2007) and Elite Squad 2 (2010) received by critics, audiences and fans both in Brazil and worldwide. This analysis takes into account the fact that never, in Brazilian cinema history, a blockbuster movie with such a strong social and political content had been so polemic among critics and so successful among audiences, at the same time. In Brazil, during the past three years, because of Elite Squad phenomenon, not only scholars but also audiences and the media had been discussing the relation between cultural and artistic works and socio-political issues. First, I will present a brief literature review on cultural activism studies and how arts (in general) and movies (in particular) may inform political debates. Secondly, I will discuss how different perceptions on the movies’ plot and narrative were constructed and then publicized through media channels—mostly on newspapers and magazines (printed and online versions), blogs and social networks. And finally, I will argue how these fiction features captivated Brazilians in such an emotional level, thus providing a narrative structure used to read events that happened in the real world. And I consider for the analysis the notion that, in Brazil, viewers who connect with a cultural product deeply enough to invest their time in participating on social networks’ discussion forums, communities and groups are usually considered (by themselves and/or for society) fans and not only regular movie goers.


Keywords: Brazil; Elite Squad; José Padilha; Movie fans; Online Communities; Rio de Janeiro; Wagner Moura.


Submission date: 2011-04-24

Acceptance date: 2012-02-08


Brazil; Elite Squad; José Padilha; Movie fans; Online Communities; Rio de Janeiro; Wagner Moura.

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Journal of Latin American Communication Research - 2014