Boy 23 – The Forgotten Boys of Brazil (2016)

In 1998, historian Sydney Aguilar taught German Nazism to a high school class when a student mentioned that there were hundreds of bricks on his family’s farm stamped with the swastika, the Nazi symbol. This information piqued Sidney’s curiosity and triggered her research. Little by little, the film shows how the historian advanced with his investigation, revealing that, in addition to facts, he also discovered victims.

Sidney showed that entrepreneurs linked to eugenist thinking (Integralists and Nazis) removed 50 orphaned boys from Rio de Janeiro to Campina do Monte Alegre / SP for ten years of slavery and isolation at the Santa Albertina Farm of Osvaldo Rocha Miranda.

Sidney’s work will reconstitute close ties between Brazilian elites and Nazi beliefs, reflected in an eugenic project implemented in Brazil. Aloísio Silva, one of the survivors, recalls the terrible experience that enslaved the boys to the point of depriving them of the use of their names, turning it into a “23.”

Sidney and other historians and scholars will delineate Brazil’s historical, political, and social contexts during the 1920s and 1930s, explaining how an ethnic melting pot like Brazil absorbed and accepted the theories of eugenics and racial purity to the point of including them in Constitution of 1934.

The investigation culminates with the discovery of Argemiro, another survivor of the Cruzeiro do Sul Nazi project. His trajectory further reinforces how the concepts of “white supremacy” and attempts at “population laundering” have marked our society leaving devastating sequels until the days of today. Being racism and – even more so – the denial of it, the most permanent.

Credits

Directed by
Belisario Franca

Screenplay
Bianca Lenti and Belisario Franca

Produced by
Maria Carneiro da Cunha

Executive producer
Claudia Lima

Edited by
Yan Motta

Music by
Armand Amar

Photography
Thiago Lima, Mario Franca and Lula Cerri

Premiação

Best Search – RECINE – Festival Internacional de Cinema de Arquivo – 2017

Best Feature documentary at Montreal International Black Film Festival – 2017

Best Feature documentary at Brazilian Cinema Grand Prix 2017

Best Feature Film at Margarida de Prata – 2017

Best Editing and Best Script at the 26th Ibero-american Festival Cine CE

Best Script and Editing at the 2nd International Film Festival Arquivo em Cartaz

Official selection at Encounters South African International Documentary 2016

Official selection at Ischia Film Festival – Italy 2016

Official selection at United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) – US 2016

Official selection at the 11º Addis International Film Festival – Ethiopia 2017

Official selection at 4ª Construir Cine Labor International Film Festival – Buenos Aires 2017

Official selection 11ª Film and Human Rights Exhibition – 2017

Official selection 19ª Brazilian Film Festival – Paris 2017

Official selection Montreal International Black Film Festival – 2017