The year is 1910; the place the badlands of Northeast Brazil. Twenty-year-old Tonio is the middle son of an impoverished farm family, the Breves. He is next in line to kill and then die in an ongoing blood feud with a neighboring clan, the Ferreiras. For generations, the two families have quarreled over land. Now they are locked into a series of tit-for-tat assassinations of their sons; an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth. Embedded in this choreography of death is a particular code of ethics: “Blood has the same volume for everyone. You have no right to take more blood than was taken from you.” Life is suffused with a sense of futility and stoic despair. —UPFI
Director/writer Walter Salles Jr. spearheaded the return of Brazilian cinema to international prominence in the latter half of the 1990s, particularly with his esteemed hit Central Station (1998). Born in Rio de Janeiro, the son of a well-heeled banker, Salles was raised in France and the United States before Brazil became his permanent home during his teens. Salles entered the Brazilian film industry as an award-winning documentary filmmaker during the industry’s 1980s/early-‘90s decline. After he moved to fiction with the thriller Exposure (1991), Salles’ feature career was stalled by Brazil’s disastrous economic freeze in the first half of the 1990s. Though he remained active by making documentaries for European television, Salles opted to stay in Brazil and made one of the first key films in the industry’s resurgence, Foreign Land (1995). Co-directed by Daniela Thomas, the internationally acclaimed Foreign Land addressed the fallout from Brazil’s economy through a mystery yarn set… read more
i was 15 when this came out. i saw it on my own then dragged 5 friends with me to see it again. though none of us were purveyors of foreign cinema at the time we were all entranced by the earthen rhythm and imagery; yellow blood on a shirt, mythic depictions of carnival & sea, the swing repitition, the openness and urge for the outside world of Pacu against inevitable familial duty. it is sincere.
A fairly intense movie about people trapped by poverty and "tradition". The blood feud is un-winnable, but must continue in the name of honor, even though it will eventually lead to the extermination of the weaker foe. Beautifully shot and well told, to say more would spoil the pleasure of watching this excellent film.