Netflix’s Invisible City, Part 2: The Cuca

When I was little, my family would tell me that if I did not behave, Thelma Harper from Mama’s Family would come and get me. For some reason, that seemed to work for a while. Although now, perversely, Mama’s Family is still one of my favorite shows.

Thelma Harper, the face of terror (Mama’s Family)

Aross many cultures, parents rely on traditional monsters to scare their naughty children to going to bed. The bogeyman/boogeyman in many English-speaking countries, the Coco in Spain, and Baba-Yaga in Russia are a few examples. The Cuca serves this role in Brazilian folklore. She is often described as a witch or old hag, sometimes with the head of an alligator.

Left, the Cuca from Invisible City. Right, the Cuca from the show Sítio do Picapau Amarelo

The Cuca of Invisible City is neither an old hag nor an alligator-headed monster. Inês, portrayed by Alessandra Negrini, is instead a seductive witch who owns a bar. She can hypnotize her prey and read their thoughts and memories. She can also transform into moths to gain access to where she wants to go. Her close companion is Tutu, which is fitting since the two are lumped together as the children-eaters in the traditional song “Tutu Marambá” (Youtube link here).

Inês is one of the most interesting and alluring characters from Netflix’s series. The changes made to the story for the show allowed the character to be a much more interesting on-screen figure for a 21st century audience, but they kept the essence of her story the same. I will leave it at that to avoid spoilers, but I cannot wait to see her story continue in the second season.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: