Rosa Morena ~ A Non-Spoiler Review

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Theatrical poster for the film Rosa Morena

🇩🇰 🇧🇷 ROSA MORENA 🇧🇷 🇩🇰

Rosa Morena (2010) is a Danish-Brazilian drama feature film. Available on Netflix U.K. 1 hr 30 min. Danish, Portuguese and English with subtitles. Cert 15 U.K.


“Thomas really wants to become a father, but has been denied adoption because he is gay. Then he finds out that there might be an option after all – one can buy a child in Brazil and he soon balances between legal and illegal.”


Anders W. Berthelsen as Thomas
Bárbara Garcia as Maria
David Dencik as Jakob
Vivianne Pasmanter as Tereza
Pablo Rodrigues as Denilson
Georgina Castro as Larissa
Iben Hjejle as Christine
Otávio Martins as Lawyer


Director: Carlos Augusto de Oliveira
Writers: Jens Dahl, Morten Kirkskov (idea)
Composer: Frithjof Toksvig
Cinematographer: Philippe Kress
Editor: Anja Farsig
Art Director: Valdy Lopes
Costume Designer: Cássio Brasil


This movie was filmed in São Paulo.

Philippe Kress has been the cinematographer on Riviera, Ragnarok, The Team and April 9th. The editor Anja Farsig has worked on The Chestnut Man, Equinox, Rita, Ride Upon the Storm, The Legacy and Follow the Money. Valdy Lopes was art director on 3% and Aruanas.

Theatrical poster for the film Rosa Morena


A first feature film by a Brazilian director who has lived in Denmark since 2000 Rosa Morena appealed initially not just for its premise but for it being filmed in Brazil, this would be an interesting contrast in cultures, I thought. It did not disappoint however it gave me even more than that.

This film is held together by a cohesive storyline, good directional choices and editing but most of all by an outstanding central performance by Anders W. Berthelsen as Thomas. Nuanced, conflicted, emotional and with great range he portrays a man in an extraordinary situation. He evokes our sympathy even when we may question his decisions because we do understand him. Most importantly I became totally invested in his character; I desperately wanted a happy ending of some sort for him and others.

Anders W. Berthelsen as Thomas (left) and David Dencik as Jakob (right) in a scene from Rosa Morena

The supporting cast is all very good in this and I particularly enjoyed Bárbara Garcia’s performance as Maria. David Dencik never disappoints and his switching between three languages is very impressive.

I loved the scene where Thomas plays football with the local kids along with a scene in an airport where, without a word being said we see a hard, bitterly hard, decision being taken.

From a Brazilian director, this indie film has a certain eye for capturing images that create an overall feel for the area in which it is filmed, especially the levels of poverty, habitations and unsanitary conditions.

Music and dancing as a source of sheer joy are explored and is a connection between Maria and Thomas – a connection that is a different one from the norm.

Anders W. Berthelsen as Thomas (right) and Bárbara Garcia as Maria (left) in a scene from Rosa Morena

The choices that are faced not only by Thomas, who is desperate to be a father but also by Maria who has too many children to cope with are realistic, complicated and raise ethical, moral issues and are emotionally charged.

I very much enjoyed Rosa Morena. It is certainly a film that lingers and is infused with a special feeling throughout. The cultural contrast is something most of us will be very struck by.


2 Wins and 9 Nominations

Cinequest San Jose Film Festival (2011) Best First Feature ~ Carlos Augusto de Oliveira
São Paulo International Film Festival (2010) Itamaraty Award Best Brazilian Film ~ Carlos Augusto de Oliveira


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