First Person

The Filmmaker Who Took On Bolsonaro


An April 2018 scene from the documentary “The Edge of Democracy.”
An April 2018 scene from the documentary “The Edge of Democracy.” Francisco Van Steen Proner Ramos/Netflix

An Oscar-nominated documentary examines Brazil’s deep political fault lines.

The Brazilian documentary The Edge of Democracy has been praised widely and was even up for an Oscar this past weekend. But Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is not happy about it. When the film was nominated, Bolsonaro called it “garbage”—though he admitted he had not seen it.

The documentary traces the political events in Brazil in recent years, including the impeachment of one president, the imprisonment of another—and the rise of the far-right populist Bolsonaro. It makes the case that Brazil’s democracy is in jeopardy.

The actress and filmmaker Petra Costa, who directed the documentary, is our guest on First Person this week.

About First Person:  Each week on First Person, we conduct a narrative-driven conversation with one person whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world. Our guests tend to be people who have participated directly in events, either as protagonists or eyewitnesses. We get them to tell their story, not just offer analysis. First Person is hosted by FP deputy editor Sarah Wildman. Sarah is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York TimesSlate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.  See All Episodes


More First Person episodes:

The Marie Antoinette of Shoes Makes a Comeback

Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield on how Imelda Marcos engineered her second act in the Philippines.

Death of a War Correspondent

Journalist Marie Colvin documented the horrors of war until one of them took her life.

The Other Brexit

CNN correspondent Max Foster on how Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, split from Britain's royal family.

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

and now the hard part

And Now the Hard Part

From Foreign Policy and the Brookings Institution: Each week we look at one of the world’s toughest problems and suggest a way forward—all in under 30 minutes.


I Spy

I Spy

Spies don’t talk—it’s the cardinal rule of the business. But here at Foreign Policy, we get them to open up. On I Spy, we hear from the operations people: the spies who steal secrets, who kill adversaries, who turn agents into double agents. Each episode features one spy telling the story of one operation.


Interested in sponsoring First Person? Connect with Foreign Policy’s influential, global audience. Click here to become a sponsor.

To learn more about creating a podcast with us, contact Andrew Sollinger at