His contact with cinema started with a cine-club he created in his hometown, Recife. Later, he graduated in Film Studies at Bristol University and directed a number of awarded short-films. His first feature, Cinema, Aspirin and Vultures, premiered at Un Certain Regard, Cannes, in 2005 and received France's Award of the Ministry of Education. It has been awarded with more than 50 prizes worldwide.
In 2009 he presented at Venice International Film Festival, I travel because I have to, I come back because I love you, co-directed with Karim Ainouz.
His film Once upon a time was I, Veronica premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012. It has been awarded several prizes at film festivals in San Sebastian, Brasilia, Amazonas, Havana and Guadalajara.
Marcelo Gomes has also collaborated in the scripts of other films: Madame Satã (directed by Karim Ainouz), which premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2002, Casa de Alice (directed by Chico Teixeira) and Deserto Feliz (directed by Paulo Caldas). The latter two were released in the Panorama section of the Berlinale in 2007.
He is also co-writer of the films Neon Bull (Gabriel Mascaro), The Violin Teacher (Sérgio Machado), Orphans of Eldorado (Guilherme Coelho), and Divine Love (Gabriel Mascaro).
In 2014 he presented at the Panorama section of the Berlinale the film The Man of the Crowd, co-directed with Cao Guimarães.
In 2017 his feature film about the martyr of the Brazilian independente, Joaquim, was selected for the Official Competition at the Berlinale.
Marcelo Gomes had the world premiere of his documentary Waiting for the Carnival at the Panorama Dokumenta section of the Berlinale in 2019