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Madame Satã (2002)

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Loose portrait of João Francisco dos Santos, also known as Madame Satã, a sometime chef, transvestite, lover, father, hero and convict from Rio de Janeiro.


(as Karim Ainouz)


(as Karim Ainouz), | 2 more credits »
23 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
João Francisco dos Santos / Madame Satã
Flavio Bauraqui ...
Fellipe Marques ...
Renata Sorrah ...
Emiliano Queiroz ...
Giovana Barbosa ...
Ricardo Blat ...
Guilherme Piva ...
Marcelo Valle ...
Floriano Peixoto ...
Gero Camilo ...
Gláucio Gomes ...
Gordo no Danúbio (Fat man)
Orã Figueiredo ...
Karine Teles


A story inspired by the life of one of the most remarkable figures in Brazilian popular culture, João Francisco dos Santos (1900-1976). In turn, bandit, transvestite, street fighter, brothel cook, convict and father to seven adopted children, dos Santos--better known as Madame Satã--was also a notorious gay performer who pushed social boundaries in a volatile time. The story begins in 1932, in Rio de Janeiro's bohemian Lapa district, when João Francisco is about to achieve his dream: becoming a stage star. In the sordid yet lively world of Lapa--populated by pimps, prostitutes and other denizens of Rio's underworld--João battles the streets and presides over a surrogate family that includes the charming prostitute Laurita, and her baby daughter whom everyone dotes on; the flamboyant hustler Taboo; João's teenage lover, Renatinho; and Amador, the owner of the Blue Danube club which is their second home. It is at the Blue Danube that street tough João begins to sing, and the mythic drag... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

8 November 2002 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Мадам Сата  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$34,969 (Brazil) (22 November 2002)


$198,181 (USA) (12 December 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente) |

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Directorial debut of Karim Aïnouz. See more »

Crazy Credits

The names of the major characters and the performers portraying them and the roles and names of the major contributors (director, etc) are shown in gold and red sequins respectively, interspersed with scenes of Madame Sata performing. Once the credits reach the minor performers and contributors the credits revert to a standard scrolling format, albeit with an unusual font, on a red/ black background. See more »


References Madam Satan (1930) See more »


Se Voce Juara
Written by Ismael Silva, Nilton Bastos and Francisco Alves
Performed by Francisco Alves and Mário Reis
See more »

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User Reviews

striking, colorful and brooding
10 March 2004 | by (Istanbul) – See all my reviews

Madame Sata is one of the most colorful, agitating, controversial, shifting, restless, erratic films you could ever watch on silver screen. The protagonist is also the antagonist with his often irrational and aggressive behaviour, possibly a trademark of Joao Francisco himself on which the film is based on, although this could be one of the film's flaws. The characters are as lively and colorful as he is and the acting is quite well, too.

An activist and a pioneer in many ways in the Brasil of 1930's, he could be seen as a gay activist, a transvestite activist, a swinger activist, a one-man-show pioneer, a strong, willful, self-confident and proud individual who defies almost all possible rules, regulations and conventions of his time, and not because he wants to be standing out.

Although the story line and Francisco's character are quite fanciful and interesting, the dialogues seem to be pretentious, the character build-up insufficient and the editing quite confusing, causing the overall feel to be incomplete and puzzling.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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