Brazilian movie inspired by American westerns (but losing none of its cultural integrity) about Cangaceiro (bandit) Teodoro who falls in love with a small town school teacher who his gang ... See full summary »
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Cássia Kis Magro
Brazilian movie inspired by American westerns (but losing none of its cultural integrity) about Cangaceiro (bandit) Teodoro who falls in love with a small town school teacher who his gang has kidnapped. Written by
Cristian Redferne <Harlock@prodigy.com>
Beautifully photographed, this Brazilian variation on the western is a strange mix. On the positive sides the images are very striking, and there are scenes of emotional intensity and violence, especially around the film's climax that are amazingly well staged and acted.
On the other hand, there's not a lot of depth to any of the characters or their motivations. They're more archetypes than full people. (It also falls into that cliché of the better looking an actor is, the better human being his character is.) Certainly that's common in this genre, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.
The story is nothing that new. Yet it's presented with a fierceness and focus that makes it very watchable. These bandit anti-heroes are hard men with hard hearts. Their violence is still disturbing, even by modern standards.
The much discussed music fell on both sides of the fence to me. The score, which includes a lot of songs, is sometimes quite a haunting partner to the striking images. But at other times, when the group of bandits whose story this is fall into singing and dancing in ways that feel more akin to a musical than a gritty, violent western, the effect was odd and disconcerting, almost unintentionally comic. But that might just be a cultural bias - it took me a while to get used to the musical numbers in Bollywood films, for example.
Overall, this was a film I was glad I got to see, and would like to see again for its imagery. Also, now that I understand its style, some of the cultural quirks would be less likely to throw me off balance.
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