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Behind the Sun (2001)
"Abril Despedaçado" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  1 May 2002 (Brazil)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,511 users   Metascore: 73/100
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When ordered by his father to avenge the death of his older brother, a young man questions the tradition of violence between two rival families.



(screenplay) (as Karim Ainouz) , (novel), 4 more credits »
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Title: Behind the Sun (2001)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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A story about four brothers from a poor family who need to fight to follow their dreams.

Directors: Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas
Stars: Sandra Corveloni, João Baldasserini, Vinícius de Oliveira


Cast overview, first billed only:
José Dumont ...
Rita Assemany ...
Flavia Marco Antonio ...
Caio Junqueira ...
Everaldo Pontes ...
Old Blind Man (as Everaldo de Souza Pontes)
Mariana Loureiro ...
Servílio de Holanda ...
Gero Camilo ...
Othon Bastos ...
Mr. Lourenço
Vinícius de Oliveira ...
Ferreira Family Member
Soia Lira ...
Ferreira Family Member


The Brazilian badlands, April 1910. Tonho is ordered by his father to avenge the death of his older brother. The young man knows that if he commits this crime, his life will be divided in two: the 20 years he has already lived and the few days he has left to live, before the other family avenges their son's death. He is torn between fulfilling his ancestral duty and rebelling against it, urged by his younger brother Pacu. That's when a tiny traveling circus passes through the vast badlands where Tonho's family lives. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »



| |


Release Date:

1 May 2002 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Shredded April  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,671 (USA) (14 December 2001)


$64,210 (USA) (26 April 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Official submission of Brazil to the 2002's Oscars in the best foreign language film category. See more »


Pacu: [voiceover] Ma says God never gives us heavier burdens than we can bear, but God keeps messing up. He sometimes dumps such burdens on us we all collapse.
See more »


References Os Trapalhões e o Mágico de Oróz (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Don't miss it!
2 January 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I think that - along with Central Station - this is the finest movie ever to come out of Brazil. Walter Salles shows he can go beyond the cheap formula of violence/misery/sex that populated most Brazilian films in the past. While showing the true face of poverty, he doesn't nourish the expectation with such corny stereotypes. That's chasing scene will stay in my mind forever. I am glad to see that Brazilian cinema is experiencing its richer moment since the 1960's.

The first time I've heard about Behind the Sun, I thought it was a tale based on the true story of two families in the state of Paraiba. The ongoing vendetta was in the news all over the 1970's. I was surprised to hear that `Abril Despedaçado' was in fact based on a book from an Albanian writer. It's amazing how the Brazilian Northeastern backdrops fit the plot perfectly. The movie describes the economical changes - cattle ranchers taking over the decadent sugarcane farms - that happen in that region following the end of slavery in the late 19th century.

The actors are superb - particularly the splendid veteran Jose Dumont, who plays the father; it is hard to believe that only nine of them are professionals! The photography is strikingly beautiful.

It impress me the reactions regarding the casting of Rodrigo Santoro for the role of Tonho. Has anyone ever met an average 1910's sugarcane picker of Brazil's Northeast region???? I don't see the same reactions when a young and handsome Al Pacino is chosen to play Serpico, or when Julia Roberts is cast to play Erin Brokovitch. How many roles Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt would get if casting directors took such nonsense seriously? Well, for me Rodrigo Santoro was a pleasant surprise.

Just as a note, this film was not shot at the Pampas, as someone said. The semiarid region in the Northeast of Brazil is known as Sertão (and that vegetation is called Caatinga). The vast grassy and treeless plains known as Pampas - great for cattle, you will not find cactuses or sugar cane there - are located in the South of Brazil and go all the way to Central Argentina. Thousands of miles away from the arid Northeast.

I loved this movie!

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