A Rainha Diaba


The Black gay “Devil’s Queen” (her real name is never mentioned) rules the underworld of Rio de Janeiro from the back room of a brothel. Her eyes thick with green eyeshadow, her gaze falls mercilessly upon the members of her drug cartel. The same jackknife can be used either to shave her legs or to slit open traitors. But her reign of terror is unstable; resistance is brewing. Soon, everyone is waging war against each other to replace the queen: the favela gangsters against the gays, the drag queens against the sex workers. People with few chances in bourgeois life.
Fontoura’s garish pulp construction stands for popular Brazilian cinema during the military dictatorship, whereby power relations were exaggerated in nihilistic fashion. Much like in Karim Aïnouz’s Madame Satã (2002), legendary 1930s gangster figure João Francisco dos Santos serves here as an inspiration, who this time is transposed into the 1970s as an early representation of queerness. Milton Gonçalves plays her with various voices, and the dichotomous concept of masculinity – which allows no shades of grey between macho and queen – dissolves here into glitter and air.


  • Runtime

    99 min
  • Country

    United States
  • Year of Presentation

  • Year of Production

  • Director

    Antonio Carlos da Fontoura
  • Cast

    Milton Gonçalves, Stepan Nercessian, Odete Lara, Nelson Xavier, Wilson Grey, Iara Cortes, Lutero Luis, Carlos Prieto, Haroldo de Oliveira
  • Production Company

    Cinemascópio, Cinelimite Inc.
  • Berlinale Section

  • Berlinale Category

    Feature Film