Brazilian Moviemakers Tackle Harms of Cyber Bullying

Two new Brazilian films show the widespread online savagery and how it can wreck teen lives

Naief Haddad
São Paulo

When it comes to cyberbullying, Brazil is ranks at the very top. The country rates second in frequency of internet-based attacks, according to a recent Ipsos survey in 28 countries. Three in every ten Brazilian parents said that their children have been victims of this kind of bullying.

Two new Brazilian films opening on Thursday (30th) show the widespread online savagery and how it can wreck teen lives. 

In "Ferrugem"(Rust), Tati, a young girl, has her life unsettled by the leak of a sex video, along with her family and friends. Sharing intimate videos and photos without consent is one of the scourges of cyberbullying.

Tifanny Dopke em cena de "Ferrugem", de Aly Muritiba
Tifanny Dopke in "Ferrugem", by Aly Muritiba - Divulgação

Lesser known, but just or even more harmful, are the online forums that encourage people to commit self-harm. In "Yonlu", a 16-year-old boy, who suffers from severe depression, decides to kill himself, instigated by anonymous people from an online forum of people who are considering suicide. 

The feature film is based in the true story of Vinicius Gageiro Marques, a musician who went by the online alias Yoñlu.

Both movies have more in common than the online sleaziness theme; they also share a common geographic origin, being both produced in southern Brazil. "Ferrugem" is from Curitiba, while "Yonlu" comes from Porto Alegre. 

"Ferrugem" director Aly Muritiba, 39, a Bahia native who adopted Paraná, has worked as a jail guard and history teacher.

His classroom years coincided with smartphones making their wait to teenagers' loves. At the same time, he started to write the script for "Ferrugem".

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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