Wanted for killing his boss, Manuel (Geraldo del Rey) flees with his wife Rosa (Yoná Magalhães) to the sertão, the barren landscape of Northern Brazil. Thrust into a primordial violent region, Manuel and Rosa come under the influence and control of a series of frightening figures. Sebastiao (Lidio Silva), a fanatic preacher who promises utopia but practices massacre and a band of bandits called Cangaceiros led by Corisco (Othon Bastos). Shuttled between the “Black God” and “White Devil”, Manuel and Rosa’s struggle for survival escalates when Church authorities hire a hitman named Antonio das Mortes (Mauricio do Valle) to hunt down every combatant in the region.
“An idea in the head and a camera in the hand” was Glauber Rocha’s motto, and every shot in this film displays innovation of thought and control over form. In addition to writing and directing the film, Rocha wrote the folk songs scored by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Sergio Ricardo. Black God White Devil became the banner film of Brazil’s Cinema Novo movement. Its artistic achievement, acknowledged by Luis Buñuel and Bernardo Bertolucci, has made it a seminal classic of film history. —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
If he was the religious leader, then yes. Antônio Conselheiro created a community – unknowingly, one very close to the ideal communist society – in the backlands which was devastated by the military on the excuse it was a pro-monarchy group (actually it affected the interest of the church and landowners).
And I believe Llosa used as inspiration Euclides da Cunha's journalistic epic Os Sertões (recently released by Penguin as Rebellion in the Backlands, if I'm not mistaken). I have yet to read both works, but they must be very rewarding for those interested in the Canudos community (albeit some of Cunha's conceptions of "race" sound very prejudiced today).
That was everything I've ever wanted from a movie experience: epicness, absurdity, lyricism. The form stretched out to the breaking point.
It’s a real shame that this film(which is brilliant and beautiful) is the only film of Brazil’s best film-maker(and one of th key 60s auteurs) to be featured on this website. It was his most famous… read review