The neon-hued Motel Destino, a roadside sex hotel steaming under the burning blue skies of the northeastern coast of Brazil, is run by hot-headed Elias and his restless younger wife Dayana. The unexpected arrival of 21-year-old Heraldo, on the run after a botched hit, disrupts the established order. As the tropical noir plays out, loyalties and desires intertwine to reveal that destiny has its own enigmatic design.


Karim Aïnouz is an award-winning filmmaker. He debuted as a director with MADAME SATÃ (Cannes Un Certain, Regard 2002). His other works include FIREBRAND (Cannes Competition 2023), MARINER OF THE MOUNTAINS (Official Selection Cannes, 2021),  NARDJES A. (Berlin Panorama, 2020), CENTRAL AIRPORT THF (Berlin Amnesty Prize, 2018), FUTURO BEACH (Berlin Competition, 2014), THE SILVER CLIFF (Cannes Directors Fortnight, 2011),  I TRAVEL BECAUSE I HAVE TO, I COME BACK BECAUSE I LOVE YOU (Venice, Orizontti, 2009) and LOVE FOR SALE (Venice, Orizontti, 2006). INVISIBLE LIFE won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and has been the recipient of several prizes worldwide. Aïnouz is also a screenwriter, tutor and member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. MOTEL DESTINO is his latest feature.


2024 Motel Destino (Motel Destino)

2023 Firebrand (Firebrand)

2021 Mariner of the Mountains (Marinheiro das Montanhas)

2020 Nardjes A. (Nardjes A.)

2019 Invisible Life (A Vida Invisível de Euridice Gusmão)

2018 Central Airport THF (Aeroporto Central THF)

2014 Futuro Beach (A Praia do Futuro)

2011 The Silver Cliff (Abismo Prateado)

2010 I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You (Viajo Porque Preciso, Volto Porque te Amo)

2006 Love for Sale (O Céu de Suely)

2002 Madam Satan (Madame Satã)


After nearly a decade, I return to Ceará, my home province, to make MOTEL DESTINO. I have an immense thirst for sunlight, for people, for the sea, for passion, for lust. I am captivated by the sight of glistening bodies mingling in the heat.

Under the scorching sun of the equator, where no shadow falls, I revisit the noir genre. Instead of somber tones, I am drawn to an explosion of color. Instead of shadows, I dream up a new film, which celebrates the vitality of those who are hungry to exist. A film that beats to the insatiable and forbidden rhythm of a pursued heart. Where everything is possible and desire reigns supreme.

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MOTEL DESTINO is a portrait of characters fervently pursuing their aspirations and seeking to carve out their own destinies. It is also a love story about Heraldo, a young defiant outsider, and Dayana, a woman who dares to confront society’s expectations. Their encounter at Motel Destino ignites a vivid spark that challenges the constrained future society has laid out for them.

MOTEL DESTINO offers an intimate and universal portrait of a youth deprived of its potential by a dominant and stifling elite, against which violence is the only weapon to assert life and desire. 

My aim was to delve into the core of will and fate, to challenge the way society regards those it puts astray, and take a deep dive into the power dynamics of Brazil. The tale goes beyond the struggle for survival; it is about actively crafting one’s own future, building a life filled with visceral love and passion, and standing up to domineering forces.

I envisioned a film in vivid hues, driven by unfiltered passion, depicting a raw dance of longing and urgency. It narrates a journey where violence carries weight, but never undermines the humanity of its characters.

Here, it is desire and will, rather than mere endurance, that determines who triumphs in life’s struggle.


Iago Xavier

24-year-old multi-talented artist from Ceará, selected from over 500 actors to play Heraldo in 'Motel Destino', his first film role.

Nataly Rocha

38-year-old theater, cinema and television actress from Ceará, chosen from more than 500 actors to star as Dayana in 'Motel Destino', her fourth feature film.

Fabio Assunção

52-year-old renowned Brazilian actor and director from São Paulo, iEmmys® nominee and well known to the Brazilian audiences, stars as Elias in 'Motel Destino’.


Iago Xavier

as Heraldo

Nataly Rocha

as Dayana

Fabio Assunção

as Elias


Director: Karim Aïnouz

Screenwriter: Wislan Esmeraldo, in collaboration with Karim Aïnouz and Mauricio Zacharias

Director of Photography: Hélène Louvart, AFC

Producers: Janaina Bernardes, Fabiano Gullane, Caio Gullane, André Novis, Didar Domehri, Michael Weber, Viola Fügen, Gabrielle Tana, Hélène Theodoly

Co-producers: Cécile Tollu-Polonowski, Sam Gordon, Mario Canivello, Guilherme Cezar Coelho

Associate Producers: Simone Leandro de Oliveira, Emily Lowe, Christina Ley

Executive Producers: Mauricio Macêdo, Janaina Bernardes, Daniela Antonelli Aun, Gabriela Tocchio, Ana Saito, Pablo Torrecillas, Fernando Loureiro, Mariana Ferraz,
Marcelo Campanér

Co-executive Producer: Laura Rossi 

Production Designer: Marcos Pedroso

Editor: Nelly Quettier

Costume Designers: Kika Lopes, Ananda Frazão

Make up: Natie Cortez

Casting: Nina Kopko 

Sound Mixers: Pedrinho Moreira, Moabe Filho 

Sound Design: Waldir Xavier

Re-recording Mixer: Adrian Baumeister

Original Score: Amine Bouhafa

Production Manager: Luiza Ramos

Post-production Supervisors: Juan Galva,
Bia Almeida, Adrien Léongue

Main Cast: Iago Xavier, Nataly Rocha, Fabio Assunção 

Supporting Cast: Renan Capivara, Fabíola Líper, Isabela Catão, Yuri Yamamoto, Davi Santos, Jupyra Carvalho, Bertrand de Courville, Katiana Monteiro, Vanessa Cardoso, Jan Moreira, Edglê Lima Moreira


Original title: Motel Destino

International title: Motel Destino

Duration: ca. 112 min

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Format: DCP

Sound: 5.1

Year: 2024

Original language: Portuguese

Countries of production: Brazil, France, Germany

Production Companies: Cinema Inflamável, Gullane

Co-production Companies: Maneki Films, The Match Factory, Globo Filmes, Telecine, Canal Brasil

In Association with: Brouhaha Entertainment, Written Rock Films, Tandem, Matizar Filmes, Tigresa, Filmes del Fuego

With the support of: Ancine, FSA/BRDE, Government of the State of Ceará - Department of Culture, Aide aux cinémas du monde – Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée – Institut Français, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg


Premier PR:

US Press:
Ryan Werner / Charlie Olsky
Cinetic Marketing
26 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10004

French Press:


Vanessa Cardoso / Eduardo Marques
Factoria Comunicação