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"O Homem da Capa Preta" (aka "The Man in the Black Cape") is a biographical film of Brazilian congressman Tenório Cavalcanti, a brave politician who fought his oppositors, helped the poor and was feared by everyone by appearing in public with a machine-gun named "Lurdinha" on his hands and wearing a black cape (he was visually similar with Coffin Joe).
José Wilker plays Tenório with heart and soul, giving one of the most memorable performances of his career, creating a powerful figure rarely presented in other Brazilian films. The movie covers from his childhood as a poor kid living in Northeast of the country, then moving to the then capital Rio de Janeiro, where he's introduced to politics and he's elected congressman, tries to run for Governor of the state, and ends up on his escape from the military dictatorship, which ended his political career being considered a enemy of the new regime.
Tenório is presented as a popular figure (almost mythical) among the ordinary people, who had a few support from the elite and the press, feared by his bold acts (that includes appearing in the congress with his machine gun, threatening to fire against who were opposed him or his projects). But the movie is not only about him. It's also about the powerful people who were trying to stop this man and their acts too, the chief of police, other politicians, the media; this resulted in several deaths, attacks to Tenorio's house (who lived in a fortress after countless attempts against him and his family).
Here's a story about a fighter fighting with all his force, using all the weapons he had in order to make a better country, a better state, a place where other simple people like him could have a decent life with plenty of opportunities.
Some critics complained about the romantic vision the director Sergio Rezende gave to the story. These complaints are completely pointless and ridiculous; the movie needs this kind of vision because otherwise it would be another film based on a true story that people wouldn't care, it needs to draw a little bit of attention and the movie succeeds in this department. The story brings the classic elements of a biographical film, moments of great tension, some funny moments too (when Tenório forces a objector reporter to jump in a pool) and great dramatical scenes.
The ensemble casting is great, even though there's some over-the-top performances but nothing so dreadful. The soundtrack was very good too, one of the rare examples of a good musical score in a Brazilian film. A great film about a story little well-known about Brazil's political history. Desperately needs to be rediscovered by people. 10/10
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