Fernando Meirelles is a Brazilian filmmaker known for his visually striking and thought-provoking films that explore complex social and political issues. Here are some of his best films:

“City of God” (2002) – This crime drama is set in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro and follows the lives of a group of young men as they navigate the violence and crime in their community.

The film is known for its stunning cinematography and intense performances.

“The Constant Gardener” (2005) – Based on the novel by John le Carré, this film tells the story of a British diplomat in Kenya who investigates the murder of his wife, uncovering a conspiracy involving pharmaceutical companies and government corruption.

The film is a powerful indictment of globalization and its impact on developing nations.

“Blindness” (2008) – In this adaptation of the novel by José Saramago, an epidemic of blindness sweeps through a city, causing chaos and societal breakdown.

The film is a stark commentary on the fragility of civilization and the importance of compassion and community.

“360” (2011) – This drama follows a series of interconnected characters around the world as they grapple with love, loss, and longing.

The film features an ensemble cast and explores themes of human connection and the search for meaning in life.

Best Fernando Meirelles Movies

Meirelles’ films are marked by their distinctive visual style, powerful storytelling, and social commentary.

They offer a unique perspective on the complexities of the modern world and the struggles of the human condition.

1. Maids (2001)

“Maids” is a play written by Jean Genet, a French playwright and novelist. It was first performed in 1947, and is a two-act play that explores themes of power, gender, and class.

The play follows two maids, Solange and Claire, who work for a wealthy Madame and are consumed by their hatred for her.

In an attempt to gain power and control over their oppressor, the maids engage in a ritualistic game of role-playing, where they take on the personas of Madame and each other. As their game escalates, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish fantasy from reality, leading to a violent and tragic ending.

“Maids” is known for its avant-garde style and controversial themes, including sexual deviance and murder.

It is considered one of Genet’s most notable works and has been adapted for the stage and screen numerous times.

2. City of God (2002)

“City of God” is a Brazilian crime drama film released in 2002, directed by Fernando Meirelles and co-directed by Kátia Lund.

The film is based on a true story and the novel of the same name by Paulo Lins. It follows the lives of young people growing up in the impoverished and violent favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s.

The film tells the story of Rocket, a young man who dreams of becoming a photographer but finds himself caught up in the violent gang culture of the City of God, a favela controlled by a gang known as the Tender Trio.

The film also focuses on the rise of another gang leader, Li’l Zé, and the brutal violence that erupts between different factions of the drug trade in the City of God.

One of the most striking aspects of “City of God” is its fast-paced and nonlinear storytelling style, which jumps back and forth in time to give viewers a sense of the complex relationships and power dynamics at play in the favela.

The film also features a vibrant and energetic visual style, with a mix of hand-held camera work, freeze frames, and montages that capture the vibrant culture and music of the favela.

Overall, “City of God” is a powerful and gripping film that offers a raw and unflinching look at the challenges faced by those living in impoverished urban areas, while also exploring themes of friendship, loyalty, and the consequences of violence.

City Of God
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Matheus Nachtergaele, Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora (Actors)
  • Fernando Meirelles (Director) - Braulio Mantovani (Writer) - Andrea Barata Ribeiro (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3. The Constant Gardener (2005)

“The Constant Gardener” is a 2005 drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles and based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré.

The film follows the story of Justin Quayle (played by Ralph Fiennes), a British diplomat in Kenya, who investigates the murder of his wife, Tessa (played by Rachel Weisz), a human rights activist.

The film explores themes of corruption, globalization, and the exploitation of African resources by Western corporations.

It also touches on the personal relationship between Justin and Tessa, and how their love for each other fuels Justin’s determination to uncover the truth about her murder.

The film was critically acclaimed for its powerful performances, engaging storytelling, and stunning cinematography.

Rachel Weisz won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, and the movie also received nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing.

Overall, “The Constant Gardener” is a gripping and thought-provoking drama that explores important social and political issues while also delivering an emotional and personal story.

The Constant Gardener
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston (Actors)
  • Frenando Meirelles (Director) - Jeffrey Caine (Writer) - Simon Channing Williams (Producer)
  • English, Spanish (Playback Language)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)

4. Blindness (2008)

“Blindness” is a 2008 film directed by Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles, not Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Portuguese author José Saramago. It stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Danny Glover, among others.

The story is about an epidemic of blindness that spreads rapidly, causing chaos and desperation as society breaks down.

The film explores themes of human nature, morality, and the struggle for survival. While it received mixed reviews, it was praised for its powerful performances and the way it portrayed the breakdown of society in the face of a devastating crisis.

Blindness [DVD] [2008]
  • Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael García Bernal (Actors)
  • Fernando Meirelles (Director) - Don McKellar (Writer) - Aeschylus Poulos (Producer)

5. Som e Fúria: O Filme (2009)

“Som e Fúria” is a Brazilian film directed by Fernando Meirelles and released in 2009. The film is a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play “King Lear” and is set in the fictional city of São Paolo.

It tells the story of Augusto Matraga, a powerful ranch owner who is betrayed by his wife and sons and left for dead.

After surviving a brutal attack, Augusto seeks revenge and sets out on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.


The film is known for its stunning cinematography and powerful performances, particularly by lead actor Selton Mello, who plays Augusto Matraga.

The film also features a strong supporting cast, including Paulo Goulart, Mariana Lima, and Raul Cortez.

“Som e Fúria” is a dark and gritty film that explores themes of power, family, and betrayal. It is a powerful adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic play, and Meirelles’ direction gives the story a distinctly Brazilian flavor.

Overall, it is a must-see for fans of Meirelles’ work and for anyone interested in Brazilian cinema.

6. 360 (2011)

“360” is a 2011 British drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles, written by Peter Morgan, and starring an ensemble cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Ben Foster, and others.

The movie is inspired by Arthur Schnitzler’s play “La Ronde” and features a series of interconnected stories that explore themes of love, relationships, and infidelity.

The film received mixed reviews from critics, with some praising the ensemble cast’s performances and the ambitious storytelling structure, while others criticized the lack of character development and emotional depth.

Despite the mixed reception, “360” was screened at several film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival, and was released in theaters in 2012.

7. Rio, I Love You (2014)

“Rio, I Love You” is a Brazilian anthology film that was released in 2014. It is the third film in the Cities of Love series, which includes “Paris, je t’aime” and “New York, I Love You.”

The film consists of ten short stories, each directed by a different filmmaker, that take place in various neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro.

The stories explore different aspects of life in the city, such as love, hope, loss, and redemption, and feature a diverse cast of characters, including locals and tourists.

The film’s directors include Brazilian filmmakers such as Fernando Meirelles, Carlos Saldanha, and José Padilha, as well as international directors such as Paolo Sorrentino, Guillermo Arriaga, and John Turturro.

The ensemble cast includes well-known Brazilian actors such as Wagner Moura, Rodrigo Santoro, and Fernanda Montenegro, as well as international stars such as Harvey Keitel and Emily Mortimer.

Overall, “Rio, I Love You” celebrates the city of Rio de Janeiro and its people, while also exploring universal themes that resonate with audiences around the world.

Rio, I Love You
  • Harvey Keitel, Emily Mortimer, Vincent Cassel (Actors)
  • Fernando Meirelles (Director)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3 Characteristics of Fernando Meirelles Films

Fernando Meirelles is a Brazilian film director known for his visually stunning and socially relevant films. Here are three characteristics commonly found in his works:

Non-linear storytelling: Meirelles’ films often employ non-linear narrative structures, where the story is told in a fragmented or out-of-order way.

This approach allows Meirelles to explore different perspectives and themes in a layered and complex manner, creating a more immersive and thought-provoking viewing experience.

This style is particularly evident in “City of God” and “Blindness.”

Social commentary: Meirelles’ films often deal with social and political issues, highlighting the inequalities and injustices that exist in contemporary society.

He has a talent for exploring difficult topics in a nuanced and empathetic way, and his films often encourage viewers to think critically about the world around them. This is evident in films like “City of God,” “The Constant Gardener,” and “360.”

Visual style: Meirelles is known for his visually stunning and innovative approach to filmmaking.

He often employs a range of techniques, including hand-held camera work, fast-paced editing, and striking use of color and light, to create a dynamic and immersive visual style.

This is particularly evident in “City of God,” where he captures the vibrant and chaotic world of the favela, and in “Blindness,” where he uses visual effects to convey the disorienting experience of blindness.

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Fernando Meirelles Films

Fernando Meirelles is a Brazilian film director known for his visually stunning and emotionally engaging films. Here are three reasons why you should watch his films:

Unique Visual Style: Meirelles’s films are known for their distinctive visual style, which often features dynamic camera work, bold colors, and striking compositions.

His films are visually arresting and create a cinematic experience that is both captivating and thought-provoking.

He often collaborates with renowned cinematographers, including César Charlone and Adriano Goldman, to create stunning visual effects that enhance the emotional impact of his stories.

Social and Political Relevance: Meirelles’s films often explore important social and political issues, such as poverty, corruption, and inequality.

His films are not just visually impressive, but also have a strong message that resonates with audiences. He is known for his ability to tell stories that are both entertaining and socially relevant, making his films both engaging and thought-provoking.

Range of Filmography: Meirelles has directed a diverse range of films, including the critically acclaimed “City of God,” the political thriller “The Constant Gardener,” and the existential drama “Blindness.”

His films span multiple genres and styles, but all share his distinctive visual flair and emotional storytelling.

Watching his films is an opportunity to explore a wide range of cinematic experiences and discover new stories and characters that will capture your imagination.

Best Fernando Meirelles Films – Wrapping Up

Fernando Meirelles is a Brazilian filmmaker known for his visually stunning and socially conscious films. Here are some of his most notable works:

City of God (2002) – This crime drama, set in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, follows the lives of several characters as they navigate poverty, violence, and corruption.

The Constant Gardener (2005) – A political thriller that explores the exploitation of Africa by Western pharmaceutical companies, with a focus on a British diplomat (played by Ralph Fiennes) and his wife (Rachel Weisz) who become embroiled in a murder investigation.

Blindness (2008) – Based on the novel by José Saramago, this film is a dystopian thriller about a sudden epidemic of blindness that spreads throughout a city, causing societal collapse.

360 (2011) – A drama that weaves together multiple storylines from around the world, exploring the interconnectedness of modern life.

The Two Popes (2019) – A biographical drama about the relationship between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and his successor, Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce), and their different visions for the future of the Catholic Church.

Each of Meirelles’ films is visually striking and thought-provoking, with a focus on the impact of larger social and political issues on individual lives.