TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Cost of Living

Moara Passoni



1974. Dictatorship proclaims that Brazil is enjoying an economic miracle but Ana, a black housewife living in the impoverished outskirts of São Paulo, each day has less feijões (the tropical beans of Brazilians’ everyday meals) left.

Out of the blue, Ana’s husband’s arrest by the regime leaves her alone and adrift with two kids to raise, and she has to find a way to scrape by. She works twenty hours a day, is
not able to see her children, and then she finds out that her daughter, trying to rescue them, is risking her integrity in an insalubrious slaughterhouse.

From the edge of the abyss, Ana joins nun Angelica to write a letter to the authorities telling them about the rampant inflation hitting staple foods while their wages are frozen. A month later, the letter explodes across the country with 1.300.000 signatures.

Ana finds herself leading a grassroots rebellion that will alter her sense of herself and shake the foundation of the dictatorship to its core, as the regime insists: they have all they need to eat.


I was born in the same neighbourhood the Movement started a decade earlier. I was raised by the women of the Movement. And I am the daughter of one of its participants.

“Imageless” figures, as women from the favelas, back then at least they never had access to cameras, universities or press.
There is almost no image of them. And making this film is a way of bringing to the screen their way of doing politics and democracy.

I see it as a bare minimum post-neorealism film moved by the strength of Ana. And I want to cross the political with the sensorial to investigate how she uses her body as a weapon.
Sharing a moment of radical transformation in the life of Ana, the film is inspired by the true story of the Cost of Living Movement as lived by her.

There are two stories in this film: the historical one and one that is a metaphor and has immediacy for our times.

This is both a 1970s story, a liberation story, a black woman’s story, and a Brazilian story of brutal survival, dignity and desire.


A Brazilian dictatorship is overthrown by impoverished housewives as the price of tropical beans rise.
Moara Passoni

Scriptwriter, Film Director

production notes

original title
Custo de Vida

current financial need
€ 1.200.000