SXSW 2021: Carolyn Talks ‘Executive Order’ with Director Lazaro Ramos and Actress Taís Arujo

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Executive Order

Screening at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival in the Spotlight Screening Section,  and starring Alfred Enoch, Taís Araujo and Seu Jorge, Executive Order is a film that speaks to the struggles of Black Brazilians as their very identities as Black people and Brazilians are called into question, and later persecuted when the white incumbent president and his supporters seek to oust all Black and “highly melaninated’ people from the country.

Directed by  Lázaro Ramos  and co-written by Lusa Silvestre, Lázaro Ramos, Aldri Anunciação and Elísio
Lopes Jr. Executive Order is sure to touch many around the world for the way it highlights what seems to be the perpetual struggle for Black people to have full equality and agency in a world where white supremacy seeks to tear us down, and silence us. For Black people across the diaspora the idea of what it means to be Black, and where home is has been one that we contemplate our history of a formerly enslaved people after our ancestors were kidnapped from their African homelands and taken across the Atlantic ocean to the the North America, the Caribbean and Latin America, including Brazil.

In our conversation for Carolyn Talks…, Lázaro , lead actress Taís Araujo – who plays Capitu – and I discuss the significance of the film’s title in relation to Brazilian history, Black women’s resilience in the face of oppression and conditional allyship, Black people’s struggles to be heard and seen as human beings who have right to exist, and racial solidarity against oppression.

To read a full review of Executive Order by ButWhyThoPodcast contributor LaNeysha Campbell, connect here.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter and Instagram @Carriecnh12, and to access the African American Film Critics Association Virtual Roundtables mentioned, visit the YouTube Channel here, and her new channel here.


About Lázaro and Taís 

Lázaro Ramos was born on November 1, 1978, in Salvador, Bahia. He is an actor, presenter, producer, director and author who, over the last 20 years has received more thanScreening at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival in the Spotlight Screening Section,  and starring Alfred Enoch, Taís Araujo and Seu Jorge, Executive Order is a film that speaks to the struggles of Black Brazilians as their very identities as Black people and Brazilians are called into question 70 awards and has played almost one hundred characters in cinema, theater and television, and has published five books. He has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2009, and is well known in Latin America for his commitment to humanitarian causes. In 2017, he was elected as one of the most influential Afro-descendants in the world under the age of 40 by MIPAD (Most Influential People of African Descent) and received his award at the UN headquarters in New York.

Ramos started acting in a theater group called “Bando de Teatro Olodum,” in his home state, which he revisited in 2018 to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the group by co-directing the documentary Bando, Um Filme De: with Thiago Gomes. Since 2015 he has directed, acted and produced the play The Mountaintop in which he plays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His career in cinema includes more than 30 films. One of his most successful movies was the acclaimed Madame Satã (2002) and other titles such as “Carandiru” (2003) and Tudo que Aprendemos Juntos (2015) – which was shown in more than 20 countries including Canada, Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Japan – and the recent Beijo no Asfalto (2018) for which he received the Best Actor award at the International Filmmaker Festival in New York.

On television, he has played several memorable characters. For the Brazilian soap opera Cobras & Lagartos (2006) he was nominated for an International Emmy Award for best actor. He also starred in the soap operas Duas Caras (2007) and Lado a Lado (2012) both awarded the Emmy for best soap opera. In recent years, he has starred in the TV series Mr. Brau, which was aired for four seasons between 2015 and 2018. The series established itself as a landmark in Brazilian television, with positive reviews all around the world in renowned periodicals such as The Guardian and others. Ramos has received a letter from President Barack Obama congratulating and recognizing him as an Influential Personality. Others honors and awards were received at the Toulouse Festival in France in 2007 and the Lima Film Festival in 2016 in Peru.

Taís Araujo is one of the most popular actresses in Brazil and other Portuguese speaking countries. In addition to her theatre career, she is well-known for her activism against racism, her stand on feminism, and her fight for gender diversity. In 2019, in Aruanas, a drama series streamed in more than 150 countries, she played one of the female leading roles, which was an activist attorney that fights to preserve the Amazon rainforest. Aruanas, received positive reviews and was called “ambitious and innovative” by Variety magazine.

Taís became a reference for a pioneering role: In 1997, she was the first black actress to take a leading role in a Brazilian soap opera called Xica da Silva. Years later, she also became the first black TV host in the country. In 2017, she was voted one of the world’s 100 most influential black women under the age of 40 by MIPAD (Most Influential People of African Descent) and received her award at Columbia University, in New York City. In the same year she was also named women’s advocate for UN Brazil.