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Quilombo (1984)

Palmares is a 17th-century quilombo, a settlement of escaped slaves in northeast Brazil. In 1650, plantation slaves revolt and head for the mountains where they find others led by the aged ... See full summary »


Carlos Diegues
1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Bené Batista Bené Batista ... Ibualama / Xangô
Jonas Bloch ... Samuel
Zózimo Bulbul Zózimo Bulbul ... Stone Man
Emmanuel Cavalcanti Emmanuel Cavalcanti ... Lins
Arduíno Colassanti Arduíno Colassanti ... Blaer
Jorge Coutinho Jorge Coutinho ... Salé
Babaú da Mangueira Babaú da Mangueira
Roberto de Cleto Roberto de Cleto ... Father Mello
Aniceto do Império Aniceto do Império
Maurício do Valle Maurício do Valle ... Dominingos Jorge Velho
Chico Díaz ... Anunciação
Sabrina Fidalgo Sabrina Fidalgo
Daniel Filho ... Fernão Carrilho
Jorge Fino Jorge Fino ... Iabu
Vera Fischer ... Ana de Ferro


Palmares is a 17th-century quilombo, a settlement of escaped slaves in northeast Brazil. In 1650, plantation slaves revolt and head for the mountains where they find others led by the aged seer, Acotirene. She anoints one who becomes Ganga Zumba, a legendary king. For years, his warriors hold off Portuguese raiders; then he agrees to leave the mountains in exchange for reservation land and peace. It's a mistake. Zumbi, a warrior whose mother was killed by Portuguese and who spent 15 years with the Whites, stays in the mountains to lead Palmares. In 1694, the Portuguese import a ruthless captain from São Paulo to lead an assault on the free Blacks. Can Zumbi keep Palmares free? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Did You Know?


(at around 1h52:07) Towards the end of the film, Zumbi tells Camuanga that there is breadfruit nearby. Impossible: this scene takes place in 1694, but breadfruit was not introduced to the New World (from Polynesia, by Capt. Bligh) until nearly a century later, in 1791. See more »

User Reviews

historically interesting, but a horrible production
18 March 2004 | by jg1972See all my reviews

This film tells the true story of escaped black slaves who found their own mountain-top commune as free men in 17th-century Brazil. The story is interesting and edifying. However, this film -- as a film -- is terrible.

The soundtrack is not period music or tribal music. It is Afro-Brazilian pop music from the early 1980s. Battle scenes are fought to the sounds of cheesy pop rhythms best left to the disco or bad cops dramas. Admittedly, the lyrics are folk-ish tales of the slaves' heroism. The special effects are absurd. Rather than invoke the mysticism of African religion and atavistic beliefs, they merely make the film look cheap. They are completely unbelievable, and I don't mean merely in a sense of verisimilitude.

Life within the commune of Palmares could not have been the way it is portrayed in the film. For this society, as shown in the film, is one-part kibbutz, one-part Afro-pop festival. Moreover, it is almost embarrassing to watch the director play upon the clichés of blacks as talented singers and dancers who simply want to be happy. He portrays daily life as a series of dance parties in which the freed slaves paint themselves bright colors and whirl around to the strains of '80s pop music. On the other hand, they have an abundance of beautiful food, but the viewer hardly sees any work being done. The king inveighs against private property in a hackneyed and clichéd way. When a man complains that people are taking the vegetables that he has grown over many months, the king says, "What comes from the earth belongs to everyone, as the earth belongs to no one. If they need food, they have a right to take yours."

I am glad that I learned about this episode in history, but I am relieved that a film with such low production values and that trades upon such worn stereotypes would likely not be made today.

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Brazil | France



Release Date:

28 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Quilombo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CDK, Embrafilme, Gaumont See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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