In Bahia, Brazil, generations of impoverished families live in palafitas, a vast network of shacks built on stilts above a rising tide of garbage over the ocean bay. When the government threatens to reclaim the bay in the name of ecological restoration, hundreds of families are about to lose their homes.
Filmed over 6 years, BAY OF ALL SAINTS is a lyrical portrait of three single-mothers living in the water slums during this crisis. Geni, AKA ‘Miss Mayor’, a pizza parlor manager rapidly becomes a community organizer; Jesus, a laundry-washer, starts to look beyond her dreams of a Prince Charming who never comes; Dona Maria, a trash-picker, once freed from domestic servitude, ventures outside the palafitas as she raises her 16 children and grandchildren on the ocean bay.
Their individual stories of poverty unfold through visits from Norato, their big-hearted refrigerator repairman, born and raised in the palafitas. He bears witness, as each family is promised a new home in governmental housing, without knowing when, or if this promise will ever be kept.
BAY OF ALL SAINTS offers a glimpse at the complexities of urban poverty; the sacrifices these women make for their children’s survival and the demands of life on the bay. Ultimately, the State’s urban development project—through its tumult and blunders—compels these women to rise up and fight for their future.