In August 2016, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president, was removed from office by the senate. She had come under attack after a series of corruption scandals and allegations of nepotism. For this courtroom drama, director Maria Augusta Ramos documented the politically motivated trial from the perspective of Rousseff’s defense team. Emotions run high in the packed courtroom, the constitution is quoted theatrically, and there are constant references to the Brazilian dictatorship, during which Rousseff was held as a political prisoner.
Inside, the structures of power unfold, and sexism sometimes seeps through the cracks. Outside, the president’s supporters and opponents follow the case on large screens, dressed like soccer fans in the colors of the rival parties, and chanting like a Greek chorus. Are the supporters backing Dilma, as the Brazilians refer to their president, or are they primarily resisting a conservative offensive? And is Dilma actually the leader of the women she claims to represent?