I Owe You a Letter About Brazil

(Fico te devendo uma carta sobre o Brasil)
Carol Benjamin | Documentary

2019 | 90 minutes | Brazil

An investigation into the persistence of silence as a tool to erase memory in Brazil.


Connecting the country’s recent past and the turbulent present context, I Owe You a Letter About Brazil investigates the persistence of silence as a tool to erase memory.

Filmmaker Carol Benjamin untangles her grandmother’s intimate writings in an attempt to understand the story of their family against the brutal backdrop of the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964 – 1985).

Her father, César Benjamin, was arrested in August 1971 during student protests against the Brazilian military dictatorship. Although he was a juvenile, he was tried as an adult and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Thanks to the ardent campaigning of his mother Iramaya, working closely together with the Swedish branch of Amnesty International, he was released five years later.

Everything Benjamin knows about this dark period in her father’s life, she has heard from her grandmother, as César himself refuses to talk about it. Hoping to better understand this part of her family history, she travels to Sweden to meet with the people who were involved in the campaign for his release.


I Owe You a Letter About Brazil starts from a very specific nucleus, from the director's own family and encounters silence. This silence makes one forget the past and brings repetition. "Silences are the rubber of history, they seal pacts of forgetfulness", Carol Benjamin tells her still young children.” – Cecilia Barroso, Cenas de Cinema

Main credits

Benjamin, Carol (screenwriter)
Benjamin, Carol (film director)
Benjamin, Carol (film producer)
Toledo, Rita (screenwriter)
Toledo, Rita (film producer)
Leal, Leandra (film producer)

Other credits

Cinematographer, Mauro Pinheiro; editing, Marilia Moraes, Isabel Castro; music, Edson Secco.

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Tempo Documentary Festival; FIFDH; Lima Film Festival; IDFA - Special Mention

DIRECTOR: Carol Benjamin


YEAR: 2019

GENRE: Documentary

LANGUAGE: Portuguese; English

COLOR / B&W: Color

GRADE LEVEL: High School, College, Adults



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