In the Nineteenth Century, the cynical and pragmatic British agent William Walker arrives in Queimada, a Portuguese colony in the Antilles, to promote a revolution and benefits the sugar trade with England.
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Pontecorvo's epic is interesting, but difficult to really connect with. Lavish color cinematography makes for some arresting visuals, set to a superb rousing score by Morricone - but the themes are laid on thick. Brando plays a fascinating character, but I don't think I'd rate this among his best performances, as many others (including Brando himself) have. Worth watching, but not completely satisfying as a whole.
Brando & Pontecorvo made a masterpiece! The honesty, intelligence, passion, and nerve it took to really dig their heels into the white man's pathology & the colonialist mind-set was remarkable & most likely will never occur again. It's these types of transgressive and deeply probing films that are radical and risque. Making films about sex and drugs is easy. Making films about racism isn't.
The film that if any one of European descent wishes to make something about the horrors of Western Expansion and Racism much watch. Its one of the VERY FEW that truly GET IT RIGHT. Its bare, honest and truly remarkable how deep these guys dug, plus it has simply Brando's greatest acting performance in History (he even said so).
It ambitiously attempts to be a sophisticated epic, but over-reaches. Instead it resembles a peculiar kind of plot-heavy exploitation. The eccentricities of the film, however, are it's greatest delights. From Brando's painfully mismatched hair/beard combo to the extensive dialogue replacement, Burn! has plenty B-quality charm. But underneath is a story with heart that shines up through the cracks.
I loved the film for varied reasons. Brando was proud of the film late in his life thaough he had differences with Pontecorvo while making the film. My full review appears at http://moviessansfrontiers.blogspot.com/2006/11/23quiemada-1969-italian-director-gillo.html