In the State of Bahia, Brazil, an educated black man returns to his home fishing village to try and free people from mysticism, in particular the Candomblé religion, which he considers a ... See full summary »




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Credited cast:
Antonio Pitanga ...
Firmino (as Antonio Sampaio)
Luiza Maranhão ...
Lucy de Carvalho ...
Aldo Teixeira ...
Lidio Silva ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edmundo Albuquerque
Francisco dos Santos Brito
Hélio de Oliveira
Antônio Carlos dos Santos
Milton Gaucho
Fred Júnior
Alair Liguori
Elio Moreno Lima
Jota Luna
Braga Netto


In the State of Bahia, Brazil, an educated black man returns to his home fishing village to try and free people from mysticism, in particular the Candomblé religion, which he considers a factor of political and social oppression, with tragic outcome. Written by

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Release Date:

22 April 1970 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Turning Wind  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Featured in Glauber o Filme, Labirinto do Brasil (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Seas without god in the flow
22 July 2014 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Okay this is from the time that New Wave was sweeping European festival screens, the time Marxism was sweeping Latin American politics. The French at the time were looking into the intricacies of self, the notations that modern self splinters into, this works on another plane.

It is primarily centered on ritual, it offers a ritualized take of the struggles of life.

There is first the fishing, the joy of collective work. The place is a small fishing community off the coast of Bahia, untouched by modernity, nothing but ocean and palm trees, a place where slaves were unloaded time ago and generations later all that has really changed is they are loaned a ramshackle fishing net by a merchant to go out and fish and only keep some of the fish for themselves.

They have kept the dances, one of them is of course samba, something that must have evolved from slave songs, it bears the call and response format, it sublimates hardship. Samba: gathered in a circle in the open air, old and young take turns entering the circle and doing a small dance, nothing elaborate, sloppy even, purely the joy of airing the body, letting the toil pour itself out from the hips and limbs.

They have kept the magical belief from Africa, santeria, again the dance, the chanted call and response but now a sea goddess may be listening and has to be appeased. There is here a muddled sense that enters the picture, the samba was simple and exhilarating, it meant itself, here we stretch to understand that the natives understand deeper forces to be moving their world.

A narrative is shaped behind and links the rituals, more complicated than at first sight.

A radical who has been to the city and back urges them to throw the bonds of oppression and rebel but he's not the statuesque hero of Soviet films, he's a seething scoundrel who plots murder. He berates their voodoo but only after he has tried it himself and the spell failed. Religion is seen as superstition, a meandering cycle to appease the sea instead of facing the real cause of suffering.

A sense of powerful metaphysics hovers but it only clouds the narrative, the notion is that there are no gods that move here and only the movements of ignorant mind groping with the horizon. Where we try to read metaphor into these flows and sea there's nothing, there is only their belief, their woe and confusion that creates these flows, there's no meaning outside what they are. This is no Stromboli; no Tempestaire; but cinematic space equally reveals inmost self.

Why have this agitated man mouth off the cause and not a more noble representative? Why tangle us and confuse instead of clearly present conflict? Perhaps it's a way of saying that if you hope to awaken people, you'll have to be tangled up in their world, that doing this falls on people as confused and unenlightened; these are the difficulties of sense.

See this as a film about ignorance, ignorance as the loss of self into ritualized perceptions, into emotional turbulence we create, filmed out of sympathy for the oppressed from inside their elliptical world so that we lose the superficial certainty of the cause and message. It's a powerful exercise in false perception, it works - we leave it muddle- minded ourselves.

This filmmaker, Rocha, his political leanings are unmistakable, but he's not complacent like Godard, he does not take easy shots. Even in this early film, he mulls over the difficulties, he leaves unreflective room; the radicalist's plot works but it's at the back of conniving and death. It pays off with more intimate, more personal value in his Terra em Transe.

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