Time of Fear
A poster with the film's international title: Time of Fear
Directed bySérgio Rezende
Written bySérgio Rezende
Patrícia Andrade
Produced byLaís Chamma
Joaquim Vaz de Carvalho
StarringAndréa Beltrão
Denise Weinberg
Lee Thalor
Bruno Perillo
Guilherme Sant'Anna
Chris Couto
CinematographyUli Burtin
Edited byMarcelo Moraes
Music byMiguel Briamonte
Toscana Audiovisual
Globo Filmes
Distributed byDowntown Filmes
Sony Pictures
Release date
  • October 2, 2009 (2009-10-02)
Running time
120 minutes
BudgetR$9 million[1]
Box officeR$2,644,26[2]

Time of Fear (Portuguese: Salve Geral) is a 2009 Brazilian thriller film directed and written by Sérgio Rezende. It depicts the May 2006 riots perpetuated by the Primeiro Comando da Capital (PCC) criminal organization in the state of São Paulo. The Ministry of Culture submitted it for consideration of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the 82nd Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, but was not nominated. The Film won the Crystal Lens Award for Best Feature Film at the 2nd Brazilian Film Festival of London.[3]


The film portrays the fictional story of Lúcia, a widowed middle class piano teacher whose 18-year-old son Rafael is imprisoned before the riots because of his participation in a car accident which resulted in the death of a girl. While visiting her son at jail, Lúcia meets Ruiva (Redheaded), lawyer of "the Professor", leader of the PCC (referred in the movie as "The Command"). The two women soon bond, and Ruiva starts using Lúcia in tasks for the criminal organization. Lúcia needs the money so she ends up accepting the mission, putting herself in the boundary between legality and crime. Meanwhile, The Command is experiencing a turbulent internal dispute for power, while facing a common enemy: the prison system.[4]

Salve Geral lampoons the mass media for generating panic among the population of São Paulo with its sensationalistic coverage of the riot and not revealing the real cause of the revolt, which was the degrading situation of the state prison system.


Background and production

Further information: May 2006 São Paulo violence

Although Salve Geral's main storyline is fictional, its background story is based on actual events that took place on 2006 Mother's Day.[5] The riots caused the deaths of several people, most of them policemen. On May 11, 2006, the state government, based on information indicating the plans of PCC to perform a series of rebellions in prisons, ordered the simultaneous transfer of 765 dangerous inmates to maximum security prisons in the state. In retaliation, the leaders of the criminal organization commanded from within the prisons, through mobile phones, simultaneous riots and attacks on law enforcement officials. The message was clear: a "horror party" was to be done in each one of the neighborhoods of São Paulo.[6] "Salve" (literally "save" or "hail") means "attack" in the Paulistano crime dialect of Portuguese language.[7]

Sérgio Rezende wanted to show, with his film, that not only the criminals should be blamed for the riots. "We must be aware that the state also disregards the law, that the detainees are in subhuman conditions. It's not a matter of good guys and bad guys. It is a matter of reality", he said.[7] Rezende said that the editing process was based on the 2006 Stephen Frears film The Queen.[7]

The film cost R$9 million reais (about 4,5 million U.S. dollars),[1] and was mostly shot in Paulínia and Campinas, with scenes in Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu, and Ciudad del Este.[8] It was produced by Toscana Audiovisual and Globo Filmes and distributed by Downtown Filmes and Sony Pictures.

Academy Award submission

The Secretariat of the Audiovisual, a body linked to the Ministry of Culture, submitted the film for consideration of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the 2009 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. According to Silvio Da-Rin, Secretary of Audiovisual, "basically three criteria led us to choose for this movie: its high technical and artistic quality, its high production value invested in the project and the contemporaneity of the issue discussed".[1]

The commission which chose the Brazilian contender for the Oscar comprised Da-Rin, movie critic Carlos Alberto Mattos, producer Beto Rodrigues, researcher and professor Ivana Bentes, director Carlos Gerbase, and exhibitor Luiz Gonzaga De Luca. According to the commission, the decision was not unanimous, but consensual. The ten films analyzed were very different from each other, and the ability of Salve Geral to address both social and political levels would have been the most important factor in choosing the films.[9]

Salve Geral disputed the Brazilian submission for the 2010 Academy Award with Besouro, Síndrome de Pinocchio – Refluxo, Jean Charles, Feliz Natal, A Festa da Menina Morta, O Menino da Porteira, Se Nada Mais Der Certo, Budapeste, and O Contador de Histórias.[1]

According to some sources, the film, specially Andréa Beltrão's performance, was very well received by the 200 members of the Academy which saw it at its official screening for Oscar voters at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on November 20, 2009.[10] The five film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film will be announced on February 2, 2010. The award will be handed out on March 7, 2010.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e (in Portuguese) "'Salve geral', sobre ação de facção criminosa, concorrerá a vaga no Oscar", G1.globo.com (18-09-09).
  2. ^ "Filmes Brasileiros Lançados - 1995 a 2013" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ancine. p. 18. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  3. ^ Time of Fear (Salve Geral)
  4. ^ (in Portuguese) Salve Geral official website - "Sobre o filme"
  5. ^ Trivia for Salve Geral (2009) at IMDB
  6. ^ (in Portuguese) Salve Geral official website - "O Que é Salve?"
  7. ^ a b c (in Portuguese) Carrieri, Marcos (11-03-08). "Ataques criminosos de 2006 em São Paulo serão levados ao cinema pelo diretor Sergio Rezende", O Globo (originally published in Diário de S. Paulo).
  8. ^ Munari, Carmen (March 12, 2009). "Com Andréa Beltrão, ataques do PCC vão para as telas do cinema". O Estado de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). Grupo Estado. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  9. ^ (in Portuguese) Redação (18-09-09). "Salve Geral, de Sérgio Rezende, vai representar o Brasil no Oscar 2010", Último Segundo.
  10. ^ (in Portuguese) Redação SRZD (04-12-09). "Membros da Academia assistem 'Salve Geral' e elogiam Andrea Beltrão" (Google cached), SidneyRezende.com