Mauricio do Valle reprises his role as Antonio das Mortes, the troubled hitman from Black God, White Devil. A new incarnation of Cangaceiro bandits, led by Coirana (Loirival Pariz), has risen in the sertão. A blind landowner (Joffre Soares) hires Antonio to wipe out his old nemesis. Yet after besting Coirana and accompanying the dying man to his mountain hideout, Antonio is moved by the plight of the Cangaceiro’s followers. The troubled hitman turns revolutionary, his gun and machete aimed towards his former masters.
Antonio das Mortes, Glauber Rocha’s first film in colour, was awarded Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival of 1969 by a jury headed by Luchino Visconti. Its visual style, radical approach to story-telling and powerful use of music (by composer Marlos Nobre) has had a pervasive influence on film-makers such as Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme. —Mr Bongo
“I’m very famous and pretty poor,” this ironic self-description is an effective summation of the rise and fall of Glauber Rocha. He was the most vocal and flamboyant exponent of Brazil’s Cinema Novo movement, which registered a powerful impact on 60s cinema. Its influence extended from Werner Herzog to Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Bernardo Bertolucci, Amos Gitai and Jean-Luc Godard (who would cast Rocha as an actor in his Le Vent d’est). Rocha’s films would become rare objects when the zeitgeist of the mid-60s receded and his career would struggle after his self-exile from Brazil following its decline into dictatorship. His early death at the age of 42 left behind a body of work that ranks among the most adventurous in film history.
Glauber Rocha was born in Bahia, a region situated in the Northeastern region of Brazil. The landscape of this region and its unique culture bore an early influence on Rocha. In his career as a journalist and film critic, he would polemicize a… read more
The film unfolds like a religious sacrament or better yet a blood sacrifice set to folk song calling for a revolution. The bulk of the film Rocha utilizes color and staging to turn individual shots into into religious paintings composing his characters like icons. These ideals are almost systematically crushed and martyred when the characters struggle for power turns into a mini apocalypse. Masterpiece.