Entranced Earth (1967)
"Terra em Transe" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  2 May 1967 (Brazil)
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Eldorado, a fictitious country in Latin America, is sparkling with the internal struggle for political power. In the eye of this social convulsion, the jaded journalist Paulo Martins ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jardel Filho ...
Paulo Martins
Paulo Autran ...
Porfirio Diaz
Felipe Vieira
Glauce Rocha ...
Paulo Gracindo ...
Don Julio Fuentes
Hugo Carvana ...
Danuza Leão ...
Joffre Soares ...
Father Gil
Modesto De Souza ...
Mário Lago ...
Flávio Migliaccio ...
Common people man
Telma Reston ...
Felício's wife
José Marinho ...
Francisco Milani ...
Paulo César Peréio ...


Eldorado, a fictitious country in Latin America, is sparkling with the internal struggle for political power. In the eye of this social convulsion, the jaded journalist Paulo Martins opposes two equally corrupt political candidates: a pseudopopulist and a conservative. In this context, Paulo is torn between the madness of the elite and the blind submission of the masses. But, in this complex tropical reality, nothing really is what it seems to be. Written by <lukejoplin@infolink.com.br>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

2 May 1967 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Entranced Earth  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Felipe Vieira: The streets belong to the people, like the sky belongs to the condors.
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Referenced in Paulo Gracindo - O Bem Amado (2009) See more »


Favela de Rio
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User Reviews

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Revolutionary in Angst
22 April 2006 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

"Terra em Transe" (in Portuguese, "Terra" means "Land"; "Transe" has quite some meanings, like "Anguish", "Risk", "Trance", "Transience") is Glauber Rocha's most important film along with his earlier masterpiece "Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol" (1964). In "Terra", we see best his cinematic assets (boldness, experimentalism, confrontational non-conformity, red-blooded vibrancy, great and original visual style) and faults (grandiloquence, contradictoriness, verbosity, technical shortages). The main character of the film is his own country, Brazil, and by extension Latin America, amalgamated into the fictional country of Eldorado (the mythical South American dreamland pursued by European explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries).

The films uses avant-garde, fragmented, non-chronological narration and editing because we are witnessing the random thoughts and memories of a dying man (though this is not clear until half-way into the film). That man is the "Artist", Paulo Martins (Jardel Filho at his best), a poet (hence capable of transcending immediacy, materialism and greed) and journalist (hence a man of his time, capable of connecting to reality). Paulo is caught in a paralyzing personal, political and ethical crisis: what's the role of Art and Artists (especially cinema and filmmakers) in the Third World in the 1960s? Apparently, to serve as a sort of Socratic "light" (ethically, sociologically, politically) against the obscurantist, alienating praxis of "Imperialist domination" in Latin America, since movies are a mass media more accessible to the public than theater, books, theses, specialized essays -- movies CAN reach poor, illiterate people. But artists should be aware they're paying a big personal price for their commitment with the "cause" (leftist cause, as it were).

The film poses a series of bold, difficult questions: why is political corruption ubiquitous and endemic in Latin America? Why and how do fascist leaders get legally elected? Why do fascist leaders always fascinate the "masses"? Is it because they speak what people want to hear or is it their power that fascinates people? Why are Latin fascists always connected with the Catholic Church? Is a demagogue better than a fascist? Are the "ignorant, unprepared working classes" ready to take power in their own hands? Do the "masses" want power to promote equality or do they aspire for the privileges of power? Once in power, will they turn down those privileges for the sake of a new political ethics? Is armed revolution more efficient than gradual conquest of civil and legal rights? Is any model of revolution "importable" (from the USSR, Cuba, etc)? Can the "new society" really be less autocratic and corrupt than the "old" one? No easy answers available, but good questions.

"Terra em Transe" is feverish, urgent, frantic, but not preachy or self-righteous: it's uncompromisingly dialectical and that's one of its best qualities. It's the work of a lucid, angst-filled, courageous 28 year-old filmmaker trying to think out the socio-political complexity of his own country and times, trying to make a contribution as an artist. Glauber boldly confronted censorship with his clear allusions to Brazilian military regime and the "subversive" revolutionary counter-actions that were beginning to take shape in 1967 and would explode in 1969 through the mid-1970s. The military censors vetoed the exhibition and distribution of "Terra...", eventually liberated because it was invited to compete at Cannes (where it won 2 prizes) and Locarno (where it triumphed as Best Film) and the military feared a negative international repercussion of the affair.

Some critics complained the film was incomprehensible and too allegoric; but the fact is that Brazil had gotten so complex by the late 60s that no simple traditional narrative could suffice. Glauber employs the Brechtian concept of building characters as archetypes behaving not as individuals but as symbols of their social class, origins and interests. Cinematically, the film was influenced by the Soviet revolutionary "montage" of Einsenstein/Dovzhenko, the French avant-garde of Vigo and Godard, the cinéma-vérité of Rouch, the unbound creative freedom of Buñuel. Dib Lutfi's hand-held camera is mesmerizing, dizzying, practically having a life of its own (and probably influenced by the outstanding Soviet cameramen Urusevsky and Calzatti). Luiz Carlos Barreto's bleached lighting creates diffuse backgrounds and unspecific landscapes of the invented "Eldorado" (and also helped solve budget limitations concerning locations). The all- star cast is committed and vital, acting at the top of their lungs -- Glauber was no fan of understatement or subtlety:)) The only terrible, embarrassing performance is that of non-actress socialite Danuza Leão, whose dialogs were all cut in post-production -- she poses here as a mute beauty.

Made as a fiction film, "Terra..." is also a testimony of the tense shift that Brazil (and the world) was going through in the mid-60s: utopia was breathing her last bittersweet breath. Today, "Terra..." can be seen both as a fiction film AND a historical document, despite (or because of) the fact that it's extremely symbolic, poetic, anti-naturalistic. Suddenly, you're aware of a time in History when a film -- a popular medium of artistic expression! -- was not afraid to raise and discuss political theses or use words like "patriarchalism", "imperialism", "conolialism", "masses" or "revolution" in dialog! To 21st century politically sanitized/fed-up audiences, "Terra..." can be quite an experience. Rocha's daring, confrontational, neck-gripping, thick-blooded art towers over the hordes of predictable, intellectually flaccid, ideologically boneless films of the 2000s.

This is compulsory viewing for anyone interested in Glauber Rocha and/or Brazilian/Latin-American political cinema. It can be confusing, loud and chaotic at times, but it's highly impacting and, most importantly, it urges you to think. It's a good companion piece to key "revolution" films of the mid-60s such as Rocha's own "Deus e o Diabo ...", Ruy Guerra's "Os Fuzis", Alea's "Memorias del Subdesarrollo", Solana's "La Hora de los Hornos", Bertolucci's "Prima della Revoluzione", Pasolini's "Uccellacci e Uccellini", Godard's "Le Petit Soldat", Pontecorvo's "La Battaglia di Algeri", Kalatozov's "Soy Cuba", etc (the list goes on and it's a GREAT list!). Don't watch it if you're not into political art or dislike experimental film-making.

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