A Brazilian family saga spanning a period of over 59 years that focuses on three women – a grandmother, mother and a daughter. The roles of these women are played by two of the most popular actors in Brazilian cinema: Fernanda Montenegro and Fernanda Torres, who are real-life mother and daughter.
It is the year 1910. Dona Áurea and her mother Maria find themselves in Maranhão, a godforsaken part of the country in the middle of a desert in northern Brazil. Áurea’s husband Vasco is possessed by the demented belief that he can make this desolate earth fertile – a mistaken conviction that will cost him his life. When he dies, Áurea is pregnant; she and her mother are soon alone with the new-born child in the house on top of the dune. For them it is nothing but a prison of sand from which there is no escape. Áurea’s only confidante is Massu, who lives in a nearby community of runaway slaves. Massu is the one who teaches her how to make a living by barter and exchange. Dona Áurea’s hopes of one day leaving the place forever at the side of a travelling salt salesman named Chico all come to nothing and so, she is obliged to accept her fate. However, she does find brief respite in the arms of Lieutenant Luiz, who arrives in 1919 with a group of scientists to observe the eclipse of the sun. Áurea’s desire to see the wide world lives on in her daughter, young Maria, who attempts to rebel against their bleak surroundings by pursuing a wild, even dissipated lifestyle … but even she will never be able to shake off the sand of Maranhão. –Berlinale
I'd rather spend a couple of hours watching to Fernanda Torres' comedy shows than this. Great photography and cast, but the story is so bloody weak.
The cinematography is so good. Obviously, with a film like this one, the setting is vital, and the photography guarantees that. I felt the story was somewhat weak. The fact that the actresses played several roles was confusing for a bit. Overall it's a strong film. It's a good example of mood and setting.