Abril Despedaçado (2001) Poster

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Don't miss it!
electrobird2 January 2003
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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A triumph of good movie-making
This movie starts with a blood-stained shirt hanging under a strong wind. We will learn, later on, that it belongs to the eldest son of a small rural farmer (the Breves) in the drought-plagued, sun-drenched, desperately poor Northeast region of Brazil. He was killed in an ambush by a member of another family, the Ferreiras, starting a feud (which in the past -- the year is 1910 -- was very common in this region and could last for decades). Vengeance is required by the rough peasant's honor system, but a truce period is dictated by the slow yellowing of the blood stains under the sun.

One of the things that are extraordinary in this gorgeous movie is the way we learn all this. The slow tempo of images, their rough poetic beauty, with an eerie musical background, tells everything we must know without words, but with skillful dramatic suspense. A lot of symbolism is also present: for instance, the sugarcane mill operated by the Breves family is powered by a pair of bulls walking endlessly around. The family patriarch is behind them all the time, forcing with a whip and shouts their round about. The oxen are so used to it that when the yoke is removed at the end of the day, they continue marching by their own around the mill! So, this is an apt metaphor for the routine, yoked, forced existence of the family under the weight of the father's authority and of tradition, an existence they see as a kind of inescapable karma.

The remaining eldest son of the Breves (played superbly by Rodrigo Santoro) must now exact revenge on his dead brother. There is no way out, so, reluctantly, he does just that and kills the eldest son of the Ferreira family in a dramatic sequence, one of the best filmed I ever saw. He knows now that he will have a truce, too, until the bloodied shirt of his enemy yellows. His life is now divided into two, as the blind patriarch of the Ferreira clan tells him: the 20 years he has lived so far, and a week or so he still has to live, because death will surely come and he cannot dishonor his family by running away. The mutual killing cycle will so be like their bleak lives and the oxen's. It will be like two serpents eating each other tails until nothing remains, just a pool of blood (another touching metaphor described by one the characters). He has never known love, and will never know. April, the month when all this happened, was torn up (the meaning of the title in Portuguese, which was disgracefully altered in the English title).

The film's ambiance alternates between blinding sun and the dried up "caatinga" (the semi-arid plains typical of this region) and the darkness of the night, lighted only by primitive oil lamps and candles. Night always bring respite and rest, to the oxen as well as to the humans, but it also brings fear. The eldest son wants to escape from this life, to interrupt the oppressing lifestyle, to revolt against the symbol of all this, his father, and to stop the revenge cycle. He doesn't know how, but the sudden appearance of a two-person circus in the village changes everything. The metaphor is now apparent: a beautiful girl shows him that love is possible, that a new life elsewhere is possible, that there are many other things beyond his narrow horizon of poor peasant. His young brother gets a book as a gift from the girl and this opens up marvelous, fascinating storytelling and daydreaming, of constructing a new reality where the boy is hero and is desired, with a plot he can change at his will. Both brothers see a light at the end of the tunnel, a dark passage to a brighter day.

The movie paces up now to a climax that everybody is able to feel, the characters as well as the audience. The assassin is coming for him, the shirt stains have finally yellowed. Night falls and he meets for the first time his love. Heavy rain starts, a new metaphor, because it is so rare and so unexpected. Will this mean that there will be a way out for him, a meeting of a new life and world, a blossoming of life like the one is brought by rain in this parched land? How can he escape without dishonor to his family, without having to kill again?

The answer is at the same time simple and fully symbolic, too. I will not spoil the surprise, but I must say that is absolutely impressive and emotion-laden. When you see the film, you will understand the solution to this impasse, painful for some, liberating to others.

This is another triumph for young director Salles and his team, one of the best of the new breed of Brazilian cinema directors. His previous international success, "Central do Brasil" was excellent, too, and very properly incensed by critics and public alike. "Motorcycle Diaries" is also another movie by him, very well received. But "Abril Despedaçado" belongs to the rare category of a true masterpiece.
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A true masterpiece!
derix209 August 2002
This movie is one that will leave your mind wondering for days thinking how can a director mix imagery, sensitivity, and poetry in a simple story. This movie will inspire all of those that want to see different ways of making movies. The reason why, in my opinion, this movie is so great is because the movie does not give you all the information for you to understand it. It actually functions more like a book. In several different instances there are long sequences with no dialog, only body expression. This instigates the minds of the viewers to try to "fill-in the gap" by guessing what the character is probably thinking. If you are looking for a new way to experience movies, please try this one. I highly recommend it!!!

It is a MUST see! If you have the opportunity, please rent it! You'll not regret!
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A loving relationship between two brothers
Howard Schumann16 February 2003
"And a little child shall lead them" - Isaiah 11:6

"An eye for an eye - until everyone is blind" - Pacu

A ten-year old (Ravi Ramos Lacerda) with a magnetic smile referred to only as "the Kid" (until given the name Pacu much later) narrates. "This is the story of me, my brother, and a shirt in the wind", he says at the outset. "When the blood on the shirt turns yellow, someone will die". Based on the Albanian novel, Broken April by Ismail Kadaré, Behind the Sun by Walter Salles (Central Station) is a story of revenge and brotherly love set in tiny Stream-of-Souls in northeast Brazil around 1910. A blood feud between two families over a piece of land has continued for generations. After a member of one family is murdered, a mourning period of one month is allowed, then the killing of a member of the other family takes place. This is the way they've always lived. "It's like two snakes I saw fighting," says one observer. "Each one was biting the tail of the other; they ate each other until nothing was left".

Since his brother Inacio was gunned down, another brother Tonio (Rodrigo Santaro) must protect the family's honor and avenge the murder. The family is poor and the father forces his sons to work in the burning sun growing sugarcane. "We are like oxen," Pacu says. "We go round and round and never go anywhere." When Tonio asks for peace, his father labels this as a dishonor to the family. Only when Pacu and Tonio meet the beautiful Clara (Flavia Marco Antonio), an itinerant circus performer, can the possibility of a different life be glimpsed. Realizing his longing to see new things, Tonio takes Pacu to the circus in a nearby town meeting Clara who also longs to escape from the circus. Though aware of his destiny, she visits him at home and they fall in love. In one of the loveliest moments in the film, Tonio holds a rope as Clara twirls above him faster and faster in a moment of exhilarating freedom. Seeing the joy on Tonio's face, Pacu knows that he alone must assume responsibility for ending the violence.

Behind the Sun occasionally lapses into self-consciousness, yet it is redeemed by the surreal beauty of the Brazilian landscape, the loving relationship of the two brothers, and the elemental power and relevance of the story. In this film, both families would rather be right than do what is nurturing. They accept the ritual of killing only because of some misguided notions about honor. Salustiano tells Clara, `They would rather kill than solve their problems; those are the real fanatics.' Any resemblance to people living or dead is not purely coincidental.
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Simply the most beautiful movie I have ever seen.
meejoir10 April 2002
After reading some of the comments from American film fans on IMDb I must admit I was a little wary about going to see this movie. I needn't have worried though. To put it simply, this is the most beautifully shot film I think I have ever seen.

Walter Salles seems to bring so much colour and life out of the screen and into the theatre it was just an awesome experience. That scene with Clara on the rope, the scene with Tonio on the beach and the chase sequence at the beginning were just stunningly shot.

It was strange that I was the only person in the cinema to see this movie, and at the same time it's a pity that people would rather suffer the likes of Kate and Leopold or Collateral Damage (!) than a masterpeice like this. No matter how "clunky" you think some of the symbolism is, it was refreshing to see something as moving.

I read a review of this by Anthony Minghella, and he said, "It's as close to poetry as cinema gets", and I couldn't agree more.

Top marks 10 out of 10. And no mistake!
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A masterpiece
George Parker30 June 2002
"Behind the Sun" tells a simple story about two families locked in a blood feud over sugar cane land in the late 19th century somewhere in a desolate, parched Brazil. The film is no less than a masterwork of simplicity; a richly textured, finely nuanced, artfully crafted drama which tells its story as much through evinced emotion as through dialogue. Not for everyone, "Behind the Sun" will likely be too austere for the public at large while providing a feast for cinema purists. Thanks to Cohn, Salles, and crew for their hard work in making a film for the few, not the many.

Note - I've viewed almost 900 films in the past three years and only rated two of them a 10. The first was "Band of Brothers". "Behind the Sun" is the second.
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One of the most beautiful films ever
soupdragon3771311 January 2006
I bought this film by chance to give myself a shot of culture, and wasn't really expecting it to live up to much. I had never heard of it before, but I liked the cover and the story sounded OK. However, I was in for a real treat. Beautifully shot against Brazilian landscapes and told through a cast of tremendously talented actors, especially, and most surprisingly, Rodrigo Santoro, of Love Actually fame. However, it is the little boy who really steals the show. He is fantastic and will have you reaching for the Kleenex. The beautifully told relationships between the families and the drama of the feuds just makes this film one of the best foreign films ever, and, if you can be bothered to read subtitled films, this is one you won't regret getting. It is really that good, and the cinematography is astounding. Sorry to keep talking in hyperbole, but it really is phenomenal.
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An absolutely must see movie for people who like human drama.
ulysis11 July 2003
This is a wonderful portrayal of human pride and stubbornness along with love and duty. Most of the people in the western world don't understand what's shown here. It's not about glorifying violence but in certain cultures honor is everything and people would rather die than be dis-honored.

It shows the struggle between doing the right thing and doing the honorable thing. The struggle in Tonio between the duty and love. The "kid" Pacu steals the movie but the barren lands is just as much amazing as the movie itself. The cinematography adds just as much to the movie as the story. The same geography seen everyday seems so dreary but here it's so beautiful. All the characters are so helpless in their own situation and only two of them choose to break free. The girl and the kid. Yet they break everything apart what's holding the rest of them hostage.

It's a must see movie if you are one of those people who yearn for knowing more of what lurks inside our own hearts.
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nicely done.
crysclr15 November 2003
To be honest, I only rented the film so that I could swoon over handsome Rodrigo Santoro after watching his brief, but memorable role in the romantic comedy "Love Actually". Little did I know how good this film was. I didn't mind the subtitles because they were clear and non-complex. I loved hearing the language. I don't know; there's something mysteriously alluring about Portuguese; it has this smooth, almost rhythmic flavor about it. I was thoroughly entertained by the little boy they called "kid" aka "Puca" (played by Ravi Ramos Lacerda); he's basically a kid wanting to drown in the world of his fantasies but has to uphold these responsibilities of labor jus like the rest of his family. I found him to be sweet, assertive, and pure comedy. All the roles were praisingly convincing and held my attention the whole way through. I couldn't get over how young Rodrigo looked even though the movie was taped but only two years ago. hehe...young, but oh so adorable :o). He doesn't say much, but...sometimes, words just aren't necessary. Neways, I think the film's great. Not one metaphor or streak of symbolism seemed out of place; not one character seemed a bit too exaggerated or too thin in personality. I really liked this film. Honestly? I really did. =) hehe it has my vote.
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gdkarma27 July 2003
This film is so beautiful, from the actors, the setting, the cinematography, the message...it was such a stunning and touching movie. A movie about vengence. A movie about love among family. Brotherly love. I felt myself transported and enraptured by this movie. More of a peek into time and space rather than watching a movie, really. To be utterly forgotten that I was watching this at home, from my VCR and feel as though I could taste the dust and feel the grind of the sugarcane mill...Who knew one could extract such sadness and anger from the sight of a bloodstained shirt, billowing in the wind as if it were dancing? Walter Salles did. The pace was deliberately slow. It's like reading a book very slowly, because you want to soak in every word and don't want to reach it's inevitable end. So if you'd rather watch a Kung Fu movie, fine.

Wonderful performances by Rodrigo Santoro (yes, he's gorgeous, can we all get over that and take his performance for what it's really worth? Tell me his doe-eyed, innocent, 'boy trapped in a man's body' performance wasn't convincing, cus it was to me), Jose Dumont as the rigid and exhausted father, and especially the charming, darling young Ravi Ramos Lacerda.
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Excellent Film
Pedro Ser9 December 2005
This film's craftsmanship is praise-worthy. It is a testament to the filmmakers' talent to visually convey their message in a graceful fashion without having to put all the burden on the dialog, voice-overs, etc. I disagree with some of the posted comments that describe how "obvious" or "overt" the symbolism is. Film-making, after all, is a visual art more than anything else, and I feel that the visuals were presented in a balanced, hardly in-your-face manner. This is the first film that I see from Mr. Salles and now I look forward to see his other work like Central Station. This movie is a must-see and I feel fortunate, because I happened to come across it by chance, picking it because I've never before seen a Portugese-language film. April Despedacado is a delight to the eye and a story to behold. It reminds us why we love to go to the cinema!
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A most enjoyable revisiting of Kadare's work.
emercer22 September 2003
Broken April was written by albanian Ismail Kadare and tells the story of two rival families that, moved by the four-century-old rules of the Kanun, avenge the death of their own by killing the older son of the perpretator's family, in a never-ending feud until Gjorg, the older son, decides to stop this tradition once and for all, for his life's sake. Walter Salles transports this moving story to 1910's northeastern Brazil and adds to it's dark plot the colorful, stunning imagery of the brazilian badlands. Supported by flawless acting, Behind the Sun is a stunning piece of moving poetry.
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A Very Good Movie From the Director of Central Station
JGBrazil12 December 2001
Behind the Sun (Abril Despedaçado) was inspired by the novel Broken April by the Albanian writer Ismail Kadaré. It was adapted for the screen by Walter Salles, Sérgio Machado and Karim Aïnouz, and the filming took place in August and September 2000 in the towns of Bom Sossego, Caetité and Rio de Contas, in the interior of Bahia.

The film is a Brazilian - French - Swiss co-production. Behind the Sun brings together once more producer Arthur Cohn, who collaborated with Vittorio De Sica on his last five films and is the only independent producer to have won six Oscars, and Brazilian director Walter Salles. Their last film together, Central Station, won more than 50 international awards and was seen by more than 7 million viewers, including 1.6 million in Brazil.

As in Foreign Land and Central Station, the cast of Behind the Sun brings together both professional and non-professional actors. To prepare the actors, Walter Salles relied on assistant director Sérgio Machado and actor Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos. The director of photography is Walter Carvalho and the music is by Antonio Pinto, with the collaboration of Ed Côrtes and Beto Villares, and with the special participation of Siba, from the Pernambucan group Mestre Ambrósio.
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Exquisitely Filmed, Haunting Tragedy Loaded With Memorable Imagery
museumofdave18 April 2013
Brazil, 1910, and out of the stark, barren land, director Salles has brilliantly composed a visual poem in various shades of amber, ochre, and deep gold, the beauty of location composition often at odds with the stark story of revenge between families, a seemingly unending cycle of violent death unrelieved for peasant families.

Moments of magic do happen, now and then, with visits from a traveling circus, from vivid pictures in a child's story book, from ascents into the skies from swings. The memorable faces of largely unknown actors will haunt you after the film ends; this is no film filled with special effects or easily-explained motivations, but a mythic tale with repercussive shocks; after one viewing with subtitles, one could turn them off and revel in the visuals, the music, and the strange, tragic finale.
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A marvelous film about the futility wrought by violence and phony "family honor"
danbes27 January 2007
Hollywood rarely has the courage to produce films such as this small masterpiece. From the plot to the acting to the cinematography, this is one of the finest films I've seen in 60 years of appreciating cinema. This is a slow paced film, but don't let that put you off. In fact, don't even think "slow paced." Instead, expect a harmonic blend capturing the life, times, and spirit of the hardworking people who populate the story.

Attempting to scratch out an existence milling sugar cane, these farmers in Brazil's rural outback (the film is set in 1910) are caught up in a land-squabble-based blood feud that's apparently gone on for decades. Not only is everything about the film superb, but the surprising yet completely logical twist that climaxes the story provides a remarkable take on "family honor" - a take that lets us know that seeing value in the lives of others can sometimes come from unexpected places.

Makes for hours of fascinating discussion; the kind of film that makes one THINK.

By all means, see it!
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A darkly brooding vision of the timelessness of vengeance
gradyharp15 December 2006
The story in this film is simple: blood for blood feuding between two families in the backlands of Brazil. If left at that, this would be a conceptually boring movie, one done hundreds of times in various locations for varying Hollywood budgets. The glory of BEHIND THE SUN is in the presentation and transformation of a familiar precis into a visually stunning prolonged motion painting.

Director Salles has assembled a cast of beautiful actors (especially Rodrigo Santoro!), minimized the Portuguese dialog so that the visuals may convey the text almost solo, and has added appropriations from other art forms to make this a memorable film. The only characters outside the feuding families are a traveling troupe of 'clowns' or a circus consisting of an older man and his sensuously beautiful stepdaughter. This nod to the "I PAGLIACCI" opera invests intrigue and introduces the concept of the redeeming force of love into this otherwise blighted life story of a young man doomed to die for family honor. The photography is elegant, the acting is superb, the musical scoring is sensitively appropriate without drawing attention to itself. This is a very beautiful, very fine film. Grady Harp
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Beautiful beyond words.
synthor5 June 2003
Utter brilliance, the most beautiful movie I've seen since Amelie from Montmartre. How this movie is fairly unknown is a mystery to me.

I cried repeatedly through the latter half of the movie. Not from the sadness in the story, but from the beauty of it. Not many movies leave such marks, me and the person I watched it with talked about it for hours after seeing it.

I'm shocked to see this movie "only" got 7.5 here on IMDB. It deserves WAAY more. I would expect it to be around the 8.5 mark. 10/10 from me though, I'm blown away.
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What more can I say, amazing!
trangnguyen_1814 December 2003
I rented this movie coz I liked Central Station so much, and coz lately I have stopped watching Hollywood movies and switched to foreign films. What an amazing film. I don't think I've seen one so intense for a very long time. Loved the 'kid', cried so much in the end my eyes are all puffy today. And oh, Rodrigo Santoro is a very promising actor. I've also seen Love Actually. I think he should be given more main roles than being others' sidekick.
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very impressive pictures & actors
Christian Neuherz8 December 2002
I have seen this film just a couple of minutes ago. And there is not to say very much about this: 1. absolutely impressive pictures 2. very good actor 3. a melancholy but very good story.

I am extremely enthusiastic although I usually prefer to see farces or action movies.

I only can recommend this film. This film is really remarkably !!
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A unique experience
nyu_caveman25 January 2002
An important and profound creation. At these days of war and confrontation, this film receives a special significance. I highly recommand it.
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Quite possibly the best film of 2001
Cutman21 January 2002
Quite possibly, the best film of 2001. Not to berate A BEAUTIFUL MIND, but since I saw them on successive days, the comparisons were obvious. Ron Howard's film spends time showing us the tiny details of Russell Crowe's life, hoping that we'll feel that they add up to something. But they're too obvious, too pointed. BEHIND THE SUN is made up of small details, but they're not overt. They don't underline a single-themed plot; they are the substance from which we learn about these two feuding families in 1910 Brazil. These families have been fighting for so long that they aren't even sure why anymore. But, as sure as the sugar cane must be harvested, the son of one family is sent to avenge his brother's death (after waiting the required mourning period until the blood on his brother's shirt turns yellow) knowing that this also will mark his own death, in further retribution. The oppressive poverty, the constant work and the hardened father all contribute to a life that the son and his little brother dream of escaping. But can they, without sacrificing the honor of their family? Is it possible to break out of the cycle of violence? It would be easy to ascribe lofty morals and lessons for today's brutal world in this film, but it is at its best when it is simply telling us about these two boys -- their thoughts, their habits and their dreams.
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Kirpianuscus31 March 2016
a Kadare's adaptation. who preserves the colors of lines, the light of phrases, the bitter splendor of small things. a film about family, duty and sacrifice. simple. touching. seductive because it presents just pillars of life without the desire to be more than a sketch. and becoming convincing portrait of a rural Brasil, a poor family, a shirt and its colors, a love story and a wise boy who change his world. the performances. the landscapes. the cinematography. each as a gem. for present a story who is only portrait of life. nothing new. only an old story from an Albanian writer. becoming a Brazilian movie as a kind of bridge of basic essential things.
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delicate beauty
Armand25 April 2013
a short story by a great Albanian writer. a precise script. and the film. as a slice of poem. it is so beauty as seed and flowers of this movie. the unique scenes. the performance of actors. the duty and revenge with Mediteranean flavor. the fiction, magic and reality as parts of same piece. the music, the looks, the sadness and the wind of joy. it is difficult to say - must see it ! because only applause is profound silence. a fragile vigorous film. about duty and freedom. about necessary sacrifice. and the last image as page of extraordinary gift. its basic virtue - it is a honest film. like a flavor from spring. like smoke of leaves in autumn evening. like frame of an adventure. in which every viewer becomes character.
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Traditions not as sweet as the sugar processed...
Andy (film-critic)16 August 2007
"Abril Despedacado" is one of those films that you cannot judge directly after watching. It is one of those films that needs to be developed within your mind first, chewed after, re-watched, then tackled. It is not a simple film, yet Salles makes it so. Confused? I was too after watching this film, not because of the storyline, but because of my insecurity of emotion felt towards this title. Typically, I can say – "Nope", or "Yep, loved it", but with this one it took me two viewings to fully find myself saying, "This was nearly a masterpiece". This isn't your typical Hollywood film, but neither was his original first "Central Station", this is a film with minimal players, coupled with a simple plot, yet emotion raining down from the sky like fire. It is about a family that is so caught up in tradition, that living just isn't available. Year after year, or in this iteration, months after months, two families struggling for control over land (the bickering and death has gone on for so long that the land seems so unimportant in the grand scheme) kill one another in hopes that this final blow will be the last. The crazy thing about tradition, it keeps going – and this one is not different – until now. Two brothers, workhorses, who question this tradition after one is faced with the undutiful task of killing, look outside their small box of a life to see what else is out there to life for. It is there they find something that has been missing – imagination, love, and most importantly – a life.

My description above seems, and feels to me like ultimate cheese spread on a film. Why would I like this? I think the first thing that pulled me towards this sleeper foreign film was the fact that I never quite new what was going to happen next. The story was solid, when I say that I mean it was lacking the typical holes that cliché Hollywood standards. This story was so simple (yet not), that Salles was able to focus on our characters, enriching us with images of the land, the culture, and the possibilities. The fact that this is a foreign film takes us away from the hardships, makes it almost fantastical, yet keeps us grandly rooted in reality. I felt sympathy for all the characters because there was no defined evil, I wanted them to explore, go on adventures, and see opportunities that this tradition was holding them back from. I loved the character of Pacu, or "The Kid", as he read the book given to him from a circus performer. The fact that he couldn't read didn't stop him from using his imagination, bringing stories to life, and enjoying a small cusp of life that we typically take for granted. What could have been dull or trite transformed by Salles vision into pure gold. This was more than just a film, but instead a cry to anyone that may feel the pressures of work getting them down, and looking for any opportunity to escape. "Abril Despedacado" is a universal story, rooted within an obscure culture. Why did this take me two viewings to see it?

I must say everything fell perfectly into place with "Abril Despedacado", nothing was missing, nothing was forgotten, and nothing was misplaced. In a year of overplayed, recycled films, this was a breath of fresh air. Our characters were strong, yet independent. I loved that Tonho wanted to leave, find a new hope, yet couldn't forget about his family, especially his younger brother. I loved the sense of family and trust that happened within a small sect of people that really had nothing in common except the word "family" and the roof over their heads. While the ending was sad, I saw it as the perfect wake up call for these two bickering families. The scenery was genuine. The music was somber. Salles, in my eyes, couldn't have perfected "Abril Despedacado" any better. I have seen some utter garbage this year, and while my eye for film is constantly changing with age, I think "Abril Despedacado" is one that families could enjoy, as well as anyone who found the courage to put this in their DVD player. I am eager to see more of what Walter Salles has to offer, really explore his style, and suggest him thoroughly to friends and family.

Overall, I am very impressed with this film. It is one that could be watched again and again, and more could be discovered. It is the perfect film to enjoy on a rainy day, with a warm cup of coffee, and enjoy the beauty that Salles creates with such a poignant family drama that obviously has a date on it, but can be considered universal. Time has shown on this film, AND proved that "Abril Despedacado" is one that can sustain the test of time. Bravo Walter Salles, Bravo!

Grade: **** out of *****
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Typical, Overwrought Miramax Fluff
erahatch5 December 2001
Pretty to look at, _Behind the Sun_ is nonetheless typical of the painfully conservative international films Miramax increasingly chooses to bring to U.S. audiences. Its symbolism is obvious and heavy-handed, its dialogue melodramatic, and its performances insultingly broad. It conforms perfectly to the feel-good foreign fluff that has flooded the market at least since _Cinema Paradisio_; that is, it embodies to a "t" the safe, lowest-common-denominator American conception of what a foreign film "should" be. As a result of Miramax's market dominance, more dynamic international films that seek to surprise us or advance film language in some way get marginalized, going largely unseen in the U.S.
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