The Trial

The Trial

Is a documentary film about the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female President. The film portrays the “judicial political” trial first at the House of Representatives and, then, in the Senate focusing on the President’s Defence Team: her lawyer and a group of senators who struggle to prove the President’s innocence against a majority vote by a Congress riddled with corruption.

A tale of betrayal and farce, the film presents Rousseff’s personal story: herself imprisoned and tortured by the country’s former military dictatorship, she now faces impeachment accused of fiscal crimes and corruption charges. Rousseff declares herself innocent and accuses the right-wing opposition of perpetrating a Parliamentary Coup d’état. The principal architect of the impeachment is Vice-President Michel Temer, one of her former allies.

THE TRIAL witnesses how the impeachment triggers a profound political crisis in Brazil. It looks at the collapse of the democratic institutions at the very heart of this crisis and at the economic and geopolitical interests involved.

The film offers a behind-the-scenes inside look at this historical moment. The filmmaker was granted unique access to the defence team, to left wing senators and to President Rousseff herself. Ramos’ technique is wholly observational, without interviews and narrations. The camera captures telling physical and conversational interactions in the private and political sphere while offering viewers a glimpse of the outdoor mass demonstrations.

The film is set in and around the corridors of power in Brasília, the capital of Brazil and the filmmakers’ birthplace. Ramos films the impeachment trial (first in the House of Representatives, then, in the Senate), exclusive conversations between the defence team, strategic meetings with senators and political leaders, President Rousseff at the Presidential Palace, and then, at the Residential Palace where Rousseff awaits her final judgement. Here in conversation with friends and allies, she expresses her personal thoughts about this historical moment.

After taking on the addled Brazilian Justice system in her past films JUSTICE (Grand Prix at ‘Visions du Reel’, Best Film at Taiwan Int. Doc Fest, Amnesty Award at CPH: Dox), BEHAVE (Grand Prix at One World, Fipresci Award at Dok-Leipzig) and HILL OF PLEASURES (Best Director – Brasilia Film Fest), Ramos once more holds national institutions tacitly to account.