He was born in 1931 in Lourenço Marques, which is now called Maputo, in Mozambique, which was then a Portuguese colony. He took an active part in the political struggle in anti-racist and pro-independence movements before he left his native land when he was 19 years old. From 1952 to 1954, he studied cinema at the IDHEC in Paris where he began to work as an assistant cameraman and director’s assistant. Although he is better known as a director, Ruy Guerra is also an editor, director of photography, producer and actor (Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes, 1972). Despite employing various styles, his films describe oppression and socio-economic exploitation in an aesthetically innovative way. Guerra has filmed in many places, but his name is associated with Brazilian cinema, as he is one of the pioneers of what was known as Cinema Novo. His first full-length film, Os Cafajestes (1963) was one of the movement’s rare commercial hits. Another two of his films, Os Fuzis (1964) and Os Deuses e os Mortos (1970), are considered to be seminal works in Brazilian cinema. In the late seventies, after Mozambique’s independence, he went back to his country to take part in setting up the Mozambican National Film Institute. In the eighties, he abandoned his radical treatment of political subjects and directed three aesthetically beautiful commercial films: Ópera do Malandro (1985), a musical comedy adapted from Chico Buarque’s work; A Fábula da Bela Palomera (1987), a period film narrating a love story based on a story by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez; and Kuarup (1988), one of the very few super-productions in Brazilian cinema, which was a stunning interpretation of Antonio Callado’s novel. As well as making films, Ruy Guerra also directs and writes plays and composes lyrics for popular songs. At the present time he is Director of the Film School at Gama Filho University in Río de Janeiro. His most recent project is the feature film Mala hora, which will be shown at the San Sebastián Festival this year in the Films in Progress section.