Madame Satã (2002)

Unrated  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  8 November 2002 (Brazil)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,883 users   Metascore: 59/100
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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 »
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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 ...


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 Сатана  »

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 The Devil Queen (1974) See more »


Arrasta a Sandalia
Written by Aurélio Gomes and Osvaldo Vasques
Performed by Walter Alfaiate, Carlos Negreiros, Sergio Machado' and Flavio Bauraqui
See more »

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User Reviews

fascinating and repulsive
3 July 2004 | by (Kansas City) – See all my reviews

I found this movie mesmerizing, both due to the lead performance and the depiction of a time and place previously unfamiliar to me. A previous user comment said that Jaoa is heterosexual and that Lorita's baby is his. Just for clarification, he is not, and neither is the baby. I don't know how accurate this bio-pic really is in portraying the life of Jaoa Francisco vos Santos. But the character is a perplexing and complex mixture of violence and tenderness, talent and self-destruction. Clearly a victim of internalized homophobia and brutal class hierarchy, Jaoa knows he is destined for greatness, but can't keep his underlying rage from exploding all over everyone, friend and foe. It's dog eat dog in the slums of Rio, but Jaoa creates a family with a female prostitute named Lorita, her baby(on whom Jaoa dotes sweetly), and the greatly put-upon and abused servant, Tabu. Jaoa takes one step forward, then two steps back--straight in to prison, over and over. The real Jaoa Francisco vos Santos was a highly celebrated female impersonator and lived to the ripe old age of 76, despite an extremely punishing existence. I think the film reveals naked humanity, sometimes the viewer is horrified but can't stop peering into the wreckage.

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