From executive producers Tim Robbins and Fernando Meirelles, one of the most successful documentaries of all time in Brazil now comes to America. Elena, a young Brazilian woman, travels to New York with dreams of becoming an actress. She leaves behind a childhood spent in hiding during the military dictatorship, and she leaves behind Petra, her seven-year-old sister. Two decades later, Petra goes to New York to pursue acting… and in search of Elena. But the film (and the filmmaker) cannot escape the similarities between Petra and Elena’s stories, and as they overlap, they begin to blur. In the spirit of Tarnation, ELENA obliterates the line between documentary, diary, and fever dream, and is at once captivating and devastating.
Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
"Elena" unfolds like a cinematic dream whose central image is water, which symbolizes the washing away of grief.Stephen Holden, New York Times, 05.29.2014
A type of cinematic performance art, with all the self-consciousness that suggests - a sibling love story that's no less heartfelt for being in the form of a first-person poem.Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times, 06.12.2014
This haunting and dreamlike cinematic essay is filmmaking at its most personal.Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter, 06.05.2014
A pained and gorgeous summoning, Petra Costa's haunted doc Elena dances with death, memory, and family, seducing viewers and then breaking their hearts.Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice, 05.27.2014