10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

The Violin Teacher (Heliopolis) (2017 Feature Film)

Sérgio Machado | Brazil | 2015 | color | DCP | 100 min | Portuguese | e.s.

Will a talented musician’s life end after a botched audition? Brazilian violinist Laerte fears the worst. He decides to start work as a music teacher in the favelas, where he is confronted with a pack of undisciplined youths. Will this rag-tag mob ever be musical?

During Laerte’s long-desired audition with the São Paolo symphony orchestra, his nerves get the better of his talent. The top violinist messes up his shot at the big time. He returns home, shell-shocked. How can he continue his career? Crestfallen, he is forced to take on a job as a music teacher in a slum. There Laerte encounters a group of undisciplined youngsters with no understanding of music. He loses all hope because these kids are also clearly affected by poverty, domestic violence and crime. He then discovers that talent can develop anywhere, even under the toughest circumstances. However, does everyone get the chance they deserve?

Based on real-world events and inspired by the youth orchestra founded 20 years ago in the Brazilian favela Heliopolis. The filmmaker is from a musical family which undoubtedly helped him compile the catchy soundtrack: from Bach and Vivaldi to Brazilian rappers Criolo and Rappin’ Hood.

Place: CINEMA 4

Date: 5 April 2017

Time: 20:30

Duration: 1:15

Place: CINEMA 2

Date: 9 April 2017

Time: 16:45

Duration: 1:15

Year in



Sérgio Machado


Marcelo Durst


Lázaro Ramos
Kaique Jesus
Elzio Vieira
Sandra Corveloni
Fernanda de Freitas




Márcio Hashimoto




100 min


Alexandre Guerra
Felipe de Souza
Sérgio Machado


Caio Gullane
Fabiano Gullane
Débora Ivanov
Gabriel Lacerda

Production Company


Production Design

Valdy Lopes Jr.


Films Boutique


Maria Adelaide Amaral
Marcelo Gomes
Sérgio Machado
Marta Nehring
inspired by the play Acorda Brasil by Antônio Ermírio de Moraes

Sound Design

Armando Torres Jr.

Year of Production



Sérgio MACHADO (1968, Brazil) has been writing and directing short films, feature films, documentaries and TV series since 1993. His regular collaboration partners include Walter Salles. Machado has received several awards, for instance for his documentary Onde a terra acaba/At the Edge of the Earth (2001) and his feature film Cidade baixa/Lower City (2005, co-dir).



(selection) Troca de cabeças (short), Bagunçaço (1994, doc), Tres cançoes indianas (1995, doc), Três histórias da Bahia (2001, co-dir), Onde a terra acaba/At the Edge of the Earth (2001, doc), Cidade baixa/Lower City (2005, co-dir), Alice: O primeiro dia do resto da minha vida (2010, TV), Quincas berro d’água (2010), Aqui deste lugar (2015, doc, co-dir), Heliopolis/The Violin Teacher (2015)