Suzana Amaral

Suzana Amaral
Born 1928
São Paulo, Brazil
Occupation Film director
Years active 1969 - present

Suzana Amaral (born March 28, 1928 in São Paulo) is a Brazilian film director and screenwriter. She is best known for the 1985 film A Hora da Estrela (Hour of the Star).[1]


Amaral’s film career started at the age of 37 when she entered the University of São Paulo film school. After graduating, she taught at the University for three years and began working for Radio and Television Cultura. In her 14-year career at Radio and Television Cultura she produced approximately 50 documentaries, films, and plays for the station.[2] In 1976 she moved to New York to pursue a degree in film from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She completed this degree and graduated in 1978.[1]

A Hora da Estrela

Amara's first feature film and best known work, A Hora da Estrela (Hour of the Star) was released in 1985. Based on the novel of the same name by Clarice Lispector,[3] the film focuses on the life of a troubled young protagonist, Macabéa (Marcélia Cartaxo), living in São Paulo. According to film critic Nissa Torrents, "the film upsets many stereotypes in its presentation of the female protagonist, who is neither beautiful nor middle-class. An anti-heroine, starved of affection and respect, she wanders through life looking for an image she can adopt and adapt."[4] The film was well received at its release and was a Submission to the 59th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. Additionally, it was entered into the 36th Berlin International Film Festival, where actress Marcelia Cartaxo won the Silver Bear for Best Actress.[5] At the 1985 Brasilia Film Festival the film won best picture and Amaral won best director. Additionally, the film also won best picture at the 1986 Havana Film Festival. Amaral was chosen as best director at the 1986 International Woman’s Film Festival. A Hora da Estrela was shot in four weeks on a budget of $150,000, 70% of which was funded by Embrafilme. The success of A Hora da Estrela led Amaral to immediate notoriety, though none of her other films have achieved such success.

Personal life

Amaral has nine children, one of which was born while she was pursuing her film studies in São Paulo. She has said that she was ""totally dedicated to motherhood" for 10 years" before deciding to pursue her dream of filmmaking.[6] She is divorced. Amaral is an avid follower of Bollywood films who says she wants Indian films to come to Brazil in a big way.[7] Amaral is a Buddhist.


Year Title Role Notes
1971 Sua Majestade Piolim Director Short film
1971 Semana de 22 Director
1972 Coleçao de Marfil Director
1980 Projeto pensamiento e linguajin Director
1981 São Paulo de Todos Nos Director
1985 A Hora da Estrela Director, Screenwriter
1992 Procura-se Director TV Mini-Series
2001 Uma Vida em Segredo Director, Screenwriter
2009 Hotel Atlântico Director, Screenwriter


  1. 1 2 "Suzana Amaral". Enciclopédia Itaú Cultural.
  2. Martin, Michael T. New Latin America Cinema. Vol. 2. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997.
  3. "Suzana Amaral: Her 'Hour' Has Come" from The New York Times
  4. Annette Kuhn and Susannah Radstone, eds., The Women’s Companion to International Film (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 13.
  5. "Berlinale: 1986 Prize Winners". Retrieved 2011-01-14.
  6. "Suzana Amaral: Her 'Hour' Has Come" from The New York Times
  7. Sify

Further reading

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