Glauber Rocha

Scen.: Glauber Rocha. F.: Waldemar Lima. M.: Rafael Justo Valverde. Scgf.: Paulo Gil Soares. Int.: Geraldo Del Rey (Manuel), Yoná Magalhães (Rosa), Othon Bastos (Corisco), Sonia dos Humildes (Dadá), Lídio Silva (Sebastião), Maurício do Valle (Antônio das Mortes), Marron (Júlio il cieco), João Gama (prete), Milton Roda (Morais), Antonio Pinto (colonnello), gli abitanti del villaggio di Monte Santo. Prod.: Luiz Augusto Mendes Produções Cinematográficas. DCP. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Deeply rooted in rural Brazil, Glauber Rocha’s second film is a lucid declaration of defeat in which historical reality and cinematic fiction blend together through the use of an extraordinarily innovative language. The historical dimension: faced with land-related problems, with a ‘hunger for the land’ and the misery of peasants oppressed by big landlords, Rocha suggests two different ‘attitudes of revolt’ that certainly did not exist in the late 1930s Brazil. The first is mystical exaltation: embodied by Sebastian, a sort of a mystical prophet who exhorts the poor to unite, to flee the rich, to go beyond flesh and appearance, in the expectation of a hypothetical miracle on earth and absolute joy in eternity… The second attitude is gratuitous violence. Thirsty for justice, angry and defiant, the prairie bandit Corisco kills, steals, loots and burns to avenge the misery of the poor. To the historical and critical dimension Rocha adds an imaginary level, which belongs to two peasants of the sertao, Manuel and Rosa. The last shot of this “revolutionary fable” encapsulates Glauber Rocha’s vision of the world at its best: freed from both the prophet and the bandit, Manuel and Rosa run together to the sea, while the blind narrator sings, “The earth is neither God’s nor the Devil’s, but man’s”… The aesthetics of Deus e o diabo na terra do sol bring together Shakespearean tragedy and Japanese theatre, surreal poetry and the medieval epics of the chanson de geste. However, Rocha’s language is decidedly modern, his storytelling suggesting the tragic within the horrific while questioning the meaning of anarchist revolt and popular myth. It’s a syncopated tale with a sometimes fragmented narrative pace, alternating between long closeups and fixed plans and then sudden movement, even within two-shots. The blind narrator’s recitative accompanied by his guitar reminds us of Greek tragedy. In a constant osmosis between theatre and cinema, realism and symbolism, solemnity and violence, Glauber Rocha achieved an utterly free and unique, barbaric and fascinating film poem.

Michel Estève, “Cineforum”, n. 87, 1969

Restored in 2022 by Metropoles Produções AudioVisuais and Paloma Cinematográfica from the original 35mm negative preserved by the Cinemateca Brasileira. The 4K restoration was carried out at Estudios Colors and Estudios JLS in collaboration with Luis Abramo and Rogerio Moraes, with Rodrigo Mercês’ supervision.