Petra Costa was a child when Workers’ Party (PT) leader Lula da Silva became President of Brazil in 2003. Her parents had been detained and worked underground for the PT and the overthrow of the military dictatorship of 1965-1985. This documentary is a personal quest to make sense of her deep disappointment at the overthrow of the PT government of 2003-2018 by supporters of that military dictatorship.
She has assembled footage of her family, of protests, of interviews with PT supporters, with the two PT Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, and, of parliamentary proceedings. Opponents of the PT initiated an investigation called Operation CarWash into corrupt political funding, which had been a feature of all parties in Brazil, including the PT, for decades.
Then the economic instability following the 2014 crisis made it difficult for the PT government to fund its programmes. This provided an opportunity for opponents of the PT to stir up popular opposition to the PT, and to use legal institutions that had not been changed since the dictatorship to oust Dilma Rousseff and jail Lula.
This detailed behind the scenes account of how the PT lost government, and Bolsonaro became President of Brazil contradicts the impression given by mainstream media that Lula and Dilma were ousted because they were corrupt, It shows rather that Brazil is now back in the hands of an elite which is making it safer for the corrupt.
Edge of Democracy is worth seeing because it raises questions about how a radical workers’ government can survive against opposition from the privileged and powerful.