Brazil 1821. A rich cattle herder finds out that his wife dies in labor. Forced to live in the property with numerous African slaves, he marries his wife's niece. But he returns to droving, leaving his wife behind alone with the slaves.
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Diamantina Mountains, Brazil, 1821. A slave trader, ANTONIO, returns to the decadent, but imposing farmhouse he inherited to discover his wife has died in child birth. Confined to this desolate property in the company of his demented mother-in-law and numerous slaves, he marries his dead wife's niece, BEATRIZ, a child of 12. A restless soul, he returns to his trading expeditions, and leaves his child wife behind. The loneliness of the big house in the rugged landscape mirrors that of its inhabitants. Each one has been displaced from his original home and forced into co-existence. The undercurrents of violence and prejudice, which still plague the Brazil of today, accelerate the inevitable tragedy which, in turn, heralds the tides of change. Written by
This visual arresting film is about 1800s colonial life in central Brazil depicting the harsh life of slavery plus a forbidden love story and vengeance. Its cast produces wonderful performances like the main protagonist, "Antonio" played by Adriano Carvalho.
The story unfolds as "Antonio" tends to his settlement, a place of numerous slaves and marries his recently deceased wife's teen niece, "Beatriz" (played tenderly by Luana Nastas). The strength of this story is the focus on gender, since its female characters dominate this film. From the master's maternal household to the slave women used for sexual affairs and labor for Antonio, this cast of diverse women characters solidify the storytelling.
This film is met with visceral imagery as it was shot entirely in black and white. Thomas's depiction of plantation work and visual references of Minas Gerais (known for its mining history) follows great Brazilian photographic traditions. There is almost no music soundtrack (although Brazilian legendary musician, Tom Ze has a track in the film) letting the viewer take in sounds from the landscape of birds chirping to food cooking throughout the house.
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