13 September 2016 | guisreis
The clash of opposing narratives on Brazilian Northeastern bandidos
Beautifully filmed, with great actors (highlight for Hermila Guedes, Irandhir Santos, Evair Bahia, and Servilio de Holanda), an innovative screenplay and edition, this is a strong Brazilian movie which definitely worth watching. The director and writer is a famous Northeast Brazilian composer and both the soundtrack and the poetic lines are an outcome of his musical talent. The plot is somewhat complex to explain not spoiling, but I can say that it connects not only different decades but also fiction and reality. Indeed, more than a differentiation between what is real and what is a lie, the movie may be understood as a film on the struggle between opposing narratives of "cangaceiros". Cangaceiros were bandits from Brazilian Northeastern aridest region who fought vicious local police controlled by greedy landowners. Until nowadays there are interpretations of their history as protectors of the poor against the state abuse or as violent thugs who terrorized a land of nobody. The film not only chooses the first bias - it even portrays Lampião (the most famous cangaceiro) as a romantic poet moved by the hatred for the dictatorship - but also shows its victory through a circus play and Northeaster traditional musical literature "literatura de cordel". In many parts the film resembles Western genre, among them the impressive opening scene. The drawbacks I shall mention in this excellent film are the pace - it loses density sometimes -, some shooting scenes which are not very convincing and a somewhat confusing story. Though, it also has the merit of being authentically Brazilian, a film which could only be made in that country, with some traits which remind national movie innovations from the past and deviate from the world narrative convergence.