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  • "This film is a portrait of Brazil and of myself", stated director Glauber Rocha about his final film "A Idade da Terra", in an interview shortly before his sudden death in 1981, at 42, of pneumonia. "Idade..." is his grand epitaph: here you'll find the best and worst of Glauber's exuberant, allegoric, compulsive, revolutionary, verbose, ambitious and very individual style. There is no story-line: it's a collage of long scenes (mostly improvised) with the purpose of "reinventing Brazilian cinematic art, in the same way Villa-Lobos did with Brazilian music, Portinari and Di Cavalcanti did with Brazilian painting". Some have called it an "anti-symphony", where cinematic "noise" and "cacophony" would be part of a revolutionary artistic style. He was outraged by the fact that mainstream cinema still followed 19th-century literary paradigms (the predominance of dialog, narrative and plot over formal experiments) and wanted the movies to "finally enter the 20th century", to be as ground- breaking as the modernist painting movements. Glauber's original project for "Idade..." included having the 16 reels of the film being presented at random order, at the discretion of each projectionist in each movie session, never actually put into practice (the copy we see in VHS today is in the same order he screened at the Venice Film Festival).

    "Idade..." had a long troubled genesis, as it began in 1978 and was only finalized two years later. Glauber was at the time a walking paradox: he was Brazil's most prestigious filmmaker on an international level, admired by Bertolucci, Godard and Buñuel; he had revolutionized Brazilian cinema at 24 y.old with his 2nd feature "Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol" (1964) becoming the leader of the Brazilian New Wave ("Cinema Novo"), creating a whole new aesthetics for third- world cinema, consolidated in his famous manifesto "Estética da Fome" (The Hunger Aesthetics). He had won two big prizes at Cannes (best director in 1969 for "Antonio das Mortes", and the Jury Prize for his 1977 iconoclast short "Di Cavalcanti"). And yet, by 1978 he was completely broke: he couldn't get financing, as his films were highly controversial and commercially unsuccessful. By then, he was in the habit of verbally attacking film critics and powerful media corporations, which didn't help matters. He was also living a private hell, as he -- a militant leftist -- was shunned by a league of important artists and intellectuals for expressing "sympathy" for the military regime in a 1975 controversial interview, as well as for hailing the new Pope (John Paul II), and was thought to be mentally disturbed. Still, he managed to raise enough money to buy a good amount of film stock and began shooting frantically with a shoe-string budget (he filmed a total of 36 hours, which he reluctantly reduced to the final version of 140 minutes).

    Urgency is the key word here: it's as if he prophetically sensed this would be his last film. Glauber points his intellectual machine-gun at a multitude of themes: capitalism, militarism, imperialism, revolutionarism, Marxism, racism, sexism, religion and religious myths, pollution, the bourgeoisie, politicians, etc. Visually, the film has tints of cinéma-vérité (in the crowd scenes), expressionism (the 15-minute opening sequence representing the massacre of native indigenous peoples) and cubism (in some sequences, ALL the takes are included one after the other). Glauber's idea of acting was measured in decibels: not only the actors shout all the time, but he himself yells directions off-screen at the actors with his booming voice ("Fala mais alto, Danuza!!!").

    "Idade…" is one of the last films to "believe" in avant-garde, experimental, uncompromising art films (as opposed to the omnipresent sense of commercialism we witness today, even from beginning filmmakers). It's from the days when films with political statements and philosophical discussions were welcome and relevant, when intellectual complexity was a plus and not "boring stuff". "Idade..." doesn't strive to be coherent, logical, accessible, entertaining: Glauber wants to provoke bewilderment and discomfort – and he certainly succeeds. It's a film of excesses: it's overlong, overly repetitive, overly digressive. It's a loud film from a loud man who didn't believe in subtlety. Glauber didn't even bother to write down his voice-over comments in "Idade...": he goes on and on ad libbing, thinking out loud in messianic speeches that are alternately lucid and maddeningly over the top. His famous inability to be succinct – both in films and real life – pays a price in his last film and it's no wonder that, by the end of the movie, we feel exhausted.

    This is a film for audiences not afraid of experimentalism and controversy -- it's mandatory viewing for all interested in Glauber Rocha and as perhaps the last breath of Brazilian "Cinema Novo" movement. DO NOT watch this if you like conventional story-telling, clarity and subtlety. For the curious, open-minded, patient viewer, trust me: you've never seen a film quite like this.
  • Glauber Rocha was once-upon-a-time a very famous man. A key figure in world cinema. Friends with Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Marie Straub, an influence on film-makers as diverse as Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Amos Gitai and countless other film-makers. Today he's practically forgotten by most. His films rarely mounted as a retrospective, inspiring few articles on his rich and complex filmography.

    What does it mean to be a fiercely provocative and openly formal film-maker of the "Third World". Most films from this vaguely defined economic sector of the planet that find a Western audience cater to the paternalism of the world hegemony, excorcise liberal guilt and work in schemas every bit as conventional as the worst sitcoms. With Rocha, you get fierce, cutting, vital celebrations of folk poetry, hymns to the landscape of the country that he loves so very much and a challenge to conventional film-making in Brazil and the rest of the world. His career as a film-maker suffered from problems of funding, common enough, and even moreso from the fact that his country underwent a collapse of its democracy which was replaced with a military dictatorship. This led to exile, a stint working underground and in short films.

    This context makes THE AGE OF THE EARTH(A IDADE DA TERRA) all the more remarkable for its very existence. It is shot in CinemaScope, 35mm and was expensive and ambitious. It was his last film, he died shortly afterwards and it's perfectly clear from the stunning first take(no titles opening and credits) that he isn't going gently into the night. He's playing for keeps and taking no prisoners. The film's length of 2 and a half hours befits it's truly epic length.

    Rocha's style of film-making challenged conventional film-making norms in a way that was totally unique. By no means a minimalist, he created a bold intense style of film-making that featured rich, saturated, loud soundtracks with eclectic music arrangements(cf, the opening of TERRA EM TRANSE) mixed with a tight emphasis on framing and long takes mixed with some of the most intense montage since Sergei Eisenstein's death. Stories matter even less in Rocha than they do in Godard. It's focus is in sculpting a particular vision of landscape, of folk rhythms and rituals.

    THE AGE OF THE EARTH begins with a long tracking shot of the sun rising on the President's Palace in Brazil, slowly stretching back, recording the prism effects caused by the reflection of the sun on the lens and then a sharp cut to a rolling sphere("Action" yells Glauber offscreen) and then a frightening close-up on a very ugly mouth that yells, "My mission is to destroy this small, poor, planet earth!" The film then proceeds to a series of episodes that have vague relations to each other(it has been suggested that this film was constructed so that it could be played in any order of reels) yet at the finish of the runtime(there is no end to this picture) it constitutes a clear whole as Rocha creates a testament of his anxieties, fears and mystical visions regarding Brazil - it's various Christs and Satans, the omipresence of Western capitalist interests and a direct statement of Glauber's own political philosophy in his own write and voice.
  • This must be a work of a genius or a work of a madman who knows more than we poor mortals can possibly know. Glauber Rocha and his "A Idade da Terra" ("The Age of the Earth") is more than its images and words and speeches. It is a masterpiece from Brazil's cinema, an experimental film that challenges its viewers, gives something to think about and leaves wonderful moments in your head.

    First of all, there's no plot although it has characters, figures, and actors performing them in repetitive monologues and in strange situations. The director explains to us that he wanted to make a film about Christ on a primitive world like Brazil, he conceived this idea after hearing about Pasolini's murder, guess he remembered some of his works. What we see is four Christs divided traveling through Brazil and spreading God's message to the desperate and hungry people of the third world, summoning all the people to a Third World revolution to help all the underprivileged people of Asia, Africa and Americas to get together and help each other. There's a Military Christ, a Black Christ, a Indian Christ and a Revolutionary Christ and they seem to fight against a diabolic figure named Brahms (Mauricio do Valle) that wants to rule the world. This is my view from the film, it might not be the same as yours, so feel free to watch a very philosophical and meaningful film.

    In "A Idade da Terra" there's culture, religion, political speeches, the director's own voice and presence (on and off screen; on screen teaching an actor how to play his role; off screen you can hear his voice shouting at actors to speak their lines louder, one example is the famous moment where he shouts "Speak up Danuza" and his poetic perception of the world, explained in a long monologue explaining the film and the history of the world, very interesting). And what can be interesting too or not depending on your patience is that Glauber selected actors moments that are shown over and over again, some outtakes where the actors say the same lines multiple times (Tarcisio Meira and his lines about the destruction of the world).

    The eternal revolutionary writer-director-producer Glauber Rocha makes important statements about the History of Brazil, a reminder that we should love and respect our country no matter what happens; and in each scene you can sense this pride, not only with words but in its images presenting a country beautifully filmed, very vivid. Sadly, this was his last film, he died in 1981, leaving an impressive filmography and being one of the greatest directors of all time, in Brazil and in the world. Once again he had a camera in the hand and an idea in the head (this is the slogan of the filmmakers of Cinema Novo "New Cinema" of which Glauber was his most expressive and important figure).

    It's almost like watching a Godard film, there's a political message mixed with something that might be a plot and other things but in the end you get the whole picture and can make an idea of what it is and what it means. I must confess that I walked out of this film after ten minutes on my first view, it was just images without coherence I thought at the time, but something was keep calling me to watch it again and I did. Time makes you understand more of things and enjoy more experiences and this film is a memorable and positive experience. I know it's not for everyone, it's almost a impenetrable work but it has many things to show. See it if you can! 10/10
  • I watched the Brazilian film "A Idade da Terra" by Glaube Rocha, from 1980 .The film begins five-minute staff of the rising sun, with the Brazilian, indigenous music. The following are alternate shots of contrasts of light and darkness, music, songs and dances, colorful costumes , which remindes me of the famous Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Alternate story about the end of the world, with tales of revolutions in the world, the independence of all countries, the totality of U.S. policy. Less knowledge about the historical and social conditions in Brazil ,hinder me in understanding some parts of the film, especially when it comes to associations with some political leaders and political events in Brazil, and the entire film I experienced as a theatrical performance. I can not say I understand it well enough, just hints of something about which I do not have enough knowledge and information.