Invisible city | Meet the Brazilian legends who inspired the new Netflix production



ATTENTION: Spoilers to come.

“ Invisible City ” debuted a few days ago on the Netflix platform and has already gained fans around the world. The series has grown in popularity for bringing a renowned cast to small screens and for exploring darker versions of classic Brazilian folk legends – creating a different story modeled after ‘Once Upon a Time’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’ Grimm ”, which have captivated audiences in the past. decade.

But do you know what were the stories that inspired the production? And the origin of these emblematic stories of national culture? After all, it is almost redundant to say that the childhood of most Brazilians was guided by intrigues involving Saci-Pererê, Cuca, Lobisomem and many others – through the beloved series’ Sítio do Pica -Pau Amarelo ” or other means.

To celebrate the importance of these legends, CinePOP has separated a short list exploring the stories and characters that have gained a whole new look in ‘Invisible City’.



Although not one of the great protagonists of the series, the mischievous character has been reshaped in contemporary times through the alter-ego Isac (Wesley Guimarães). Appearing in the southern region among the indigenous Guarani peoples, the influential legend has spread to the neighboring countries of Brazil and has been characterized in the most diverse way.

The most famous version is that of a black boy who lives in forests and likes to play tricks on people. Endowed with only one leg, he wears a red falda and a hat that likes to disturb horses, invade houses and make hell for whomever he chooses. Saci is said to manage to live to be 77 years old, and when he is on the verge of death, he transforms into a poisonous fungus known as the ear of wood (those found in tree trunks.

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Historians believe the origin of the legend dates back to an ancient Curupira root, as both are considered protectors of the forest.


One of the main beings of national folklore, Cuca (who was taken to the small screens by Alessandra Negrini) is derived from a Galician-Portuguese legend called Coca, a pumpkin-headed witch who frightened small children.

The Brazilian legend has become popular with several similarities. The mythical creature, here, is also an old witch with claws, an alligator head and a horrid voice, feared for kidnapping children who disobey their parents. Sleeping only one night every seven years, his life spans a millennium, until he lays an egg and another Cuca emerges, even more evil and more dangerous than the previous one.


The Brazilian Queen of the Waters was played by Jessica Cores in “Invisible City” – and the similarities are very clear when it comes to ancient history. Also part of European culture, the mythical mermaid tale was introduced by the Portuguese to the indigenous people who lived here in the 16th century, who adapted the legend to their enjoyment.

Daughter of a shaman and a powerful warrior, Iara was envied by her older brothers, who decided to come together to kill her. However, when she resisted and ended up murdering her tormentors, her father threw her between the Negro and Solimões rivers to die – eventually being rescued by the fish and becoming the creature as we know it.

Iara uses her beauty and vocal talents to seduce the men who sail the river or stroll along its banks, dragging them to the bottom of the waters until they drown.


Played by Victor Sparapane on the Netflix series, Boto Cor-de-Rosa is one of the indigenous tribes of the Amazon region. The character is an intelligent animal who looks a lot like the dolphin and transforms into a handsome and attractive young man on full moon nights.

Legend has it that he emerges from the waters during the June festivities, more precisely during the celebrations of Santo Antonio and São João, dressed in white and with a large hat to hide the features of the animals. Your wish? Choosing the prettiest single girl at parties, getting her pregnant, and ditching her – which, according to popular belief, was an argument used to explain pregnancy outside of marriage.

Despite being an uncontrollable debauchery, Boto also steps in as a river watcher, helping workers get lucky during the fishing season and guide them through treacherous waters on stormy nights. In addition, it also saves those who unfortunately fall from their boats.


With his identity hidden for a very long time in “Invisible City”, few people have ever heard of the dreaded Curupira. The controversial character is characterized as a sort of dwarf with red hair, a hairy body, sharp teeth, and backward-turned feet, whom he uses to deceive those who hunt him.

The protector of forests does not think twice about defending his house and the flora and fauna that inhabit it, using the most diverse devices to deceive hunters, leaving them lost and frightened in the dense forest, not knowing where they got in and how to get out. With icy whistles and howls that sound like wolves, there’s no reason he’s called a demon.


Corpo-Seco is not one of the best-known tales in the national pantheon – at least not as well-known as Mule-Without-Head and Boitatá, which were not introduced for the show’s first season. However, the creature is one of the most frightening in folklore.

Appearing at any time of the day or night, the Dry Body is a supposed boy who has spent his entire life disobeying his parents, fighting and hitting people. When he died, neither heaven nor hell accepted him; after being buried, the earth itself spits her out, causing her to transform into an evil creature that camouflages itself in trees and terrorizes the unfortunate ones who cross her path with her rotten body, kissing them with long fingernails and dragging them into the woods to kill them.


The name Tutu Marambá is probably unfamiliar – but the Bicho-Papão variant certainly is. Destroyer of children’s dreams, the horrible creature is a ghost that appears in several folk songs. Shapeless, its silhouette is constantly accompanied by darkness and its origin comes from African legends about ogres.

The monster is the lord of night terrors and inhabits the states of Bahia, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.

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