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Black God, White Devil (1964)

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (original title)
Fictionalized account of the adventures of hired gunman Antonio das Mortes, set against the real life last days of rural banditism. The movie follows Antonio as he witnesses the descent of ... See full summary »


Glauber Rocha


Glauber Rocha

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Geraldo Del Rey ... Manuel
Yoná Magalhães ... Rosa
Othon Bastos Othon Bastos ... Corisco
Maurício do Valle Maurício do Valle ... Antônio das Mortes
Lidio Silva Lidio Silva ... Sebastião
Sonia Dos Humildes Sonia Dos Humildes ... Dadá
João Gama João Gama ... Priest
Antônio Pinto Antônio Pinto ... Colonel
Milton Rosa Milton Rosa ... Moraes (as Milton Roda)
Roque Santos Roque Santos ... (as Roque)


Fictionalized account of the adventures of hired gunman Antonio das Mortes, set against the real life last days of rural banditism. The movie follows Antonio as he witnesses the descent of common rural worker Manuel into a life of crime, joining the gang of Antonio's sworn enemy, Corisco the Blond Devil (Othon Bastos), and the Pedra Bonita Massacre. Written by Cristian Redferne <Harlock@prodigy.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Official Sites:

Mr Bongo Films





Release Date:

10 July 1964 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Black God, White Devil See more »

Filming Locations:

Canudos, Bahia, Brazil See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the shooting of the scene in which Corisco (Othon Bastos) and Rosa (Yoná Magalhães) kiss passionately, Yoná Magalhães' husband was sitting off-camera, right beside the two actors. During the interview taped for the DVD release, Bastos confessed he was really nervous about it, and wanted to ask the man to leave - but didn't have the nerve to do it. See more »


Corisco: Here's my rifle to save the poor from starving.
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Referenced in The Battle of Canudos (1997) See more »


Written by Glauber Rocha & Sérgio Ricardo
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User Reviews

Horrifying and undoubtedly important
10 July 2013 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

At just 25, Brazilian director Glauber Rocha directed Black God, White Devil, now considered one of the most important pictures to ever come out of Brazil, and a key entry into the Cinema Novo movement. Combining elements of Sergio Leone, Italian neo-realism, and Soviet propaganda such as the work of Sergei Eisenstein, Rocha created a brutal, grainy world inhabited by suicidal religious fanatics, wandering hit men, and psychopathic bandits. From the opening shots of rotting animal corpses and the endless Brazilian sertão, Rocha portrays a grim social realism, one of the key aspects of Cinema Novo.

Ranch-hand Manuel (Geraldo Del Rey) lives in poverty with his wife Rosa (Yona Magalhaes). Fed up with his situation, he goes into town to sell his stock, only to have his boss try to cheat him out of his money, so Manuel kills him with a machete. Fleeing the authorities, he falls in with maniacal preacher Sebastiao (Lidio Silva), who leads Manuel, Rosa and his other followers on a killing spree. Circumstances lead to Manuel leaving the cause, and joining up with famous bandit Corisco (Othon Bastos), who also leads the couple on an orgy of meaningless violence and thievery. But shadowy gun-for-hire Antonio das Mortes (Mauricio do Valle), having been paid by the church and a poltician, is hot on Corisco's tail.

The film very much reminded me of Cormac McCarthy's astounding novel Blood Meridian, where the sheer brutality of the violence played as a metaphor for a society gone sour and a world intent of self-destruction. Like Blood Meridian's The Kid, Manuel and Rosa follow blindly to whichever cause they see a glimmer of hope in. They fail to see the lunacy of Sebastiao's behaviour, and it's only at the point where he stabs a baby in the heart that their eyes seem to be opened, only for them to shack up with the gibbering Corisco, a man who speaks like a poet but doesn't seem to be able to comprehend his own existence. It is at this point, about two-thirds in, that the film seems to lose momentum and becomes somewhat of an unfathomable mess.

But it isn't just the social-political ponderings that make Black God, White Devil so memorable, it also has style in abundance. The camera-work is shaky and urgent at times, full of character close-ups from awkward angles, but it also uses fast editing reminiscent of Eisenstein's greatest works. Similar to Battleship Potemkin's (1925) Odessa steps sequence, the Monte Santo chapel massacre at the hands of Antonio das Mortes is simply electrifying. It is das Mortes' presence that leads to the moments that evoke the work of Sergio Leone, wrapping the shady anti-hero in moody atmosphere like Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name. It's a dangerous mixture of conflicting styles that works beautifully, making the film beautiful and cool, occasionally horrifying, and undoubtedly important. It's just a shame it doesn't manage to keep up with the absolutely astonishing opening two-thirds.

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