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Antonio das mortes (1969)

Glauber Rocha, Brazil

The action of the movie takes place in the sertao, the desertified Northeast backlands of Brazil, that is traditionally beyond the rule of law, and that was the site of some of most enduring folklore. The sertao is the region of myth, encapsulated by the historical world of progress symbolized by the highway. The tale employs the cast of folklore characters: the colonel of the ranch; his mistress; the colonel's sidekick; the colonel's enforcer; local bandits (typical of the gangs that grew up in the region either as enforcers or as rural poor abandoned by a patron who lost a local battle); a group of millenialists (similarly, typical of groups of disenfranchised rural poor); the local teacher, a dependent of the colonel. «Antonio das Mortes» is a character at at war with himself.

«The very sound of this film title suddenly takes me back to my 1968s. Glauber Rocha was for politically engaged young filmmakers like myself one of those cult directors whose films we also tried to imitate because of their visually anarchic power. But finding the Brazilian "grandeza" in our own country proved futile.»

Fredi M. Murer
Duration
99 minutes
Language
OV Portuguese
Subtitles
German, French
Video Quality
480p
Available in
Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein
Glauber Rocha
Terra em transe - Land Entranced (1967)
Glauber Rocha
Brazil
108′
El Dorado, a fictional country. Paulo, a poetry-writing intellectual, oscillates between the political extremes. First he devotes himself to the right-wing conservative Diaz, until he sees through the latter’s pseudo-religious fascism. Then he takes the side of Vieira, the populist reformer who wants to free the country of its misery. But Paulo’s true love is for Sara, the communist who works for Vieira. Paulo is forced to realize that both are interested only in power, not in change, and that they are willing to use any means to achieve their end. Disappointed and despairing, he sets off on his own path as a revolutionary, a path on which Sara is no longer able to follow him. He is shot and dies a lonely death, with a gun in his hand, sending a signal for others to take up arms. The lasting relevance of this masterpiece lies in the scene of long agony before Paulo dies. Sara calls out the question to him, “What does your death prove?” And he answers, “The victory of beauty and justice!” Glauber Rocha trusts in culture’s power of survival and connects it with the necessary struggle for social justice.
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