Black God, White Devil
Director: Glauber Rocha Run Time: 120 min. Format: DCP Release Year: 1964 Language: Portuguese with English subtitles
Starring: Geraldo Del Rey, Lidio Silva, Maurício do Valle, Othon Bastos, Yoná Magalhães
Glauber Rocha’s sophomore feature, now available in a spectacular new restoration, is a scorched-earth allegory about the blind followers of dead-end ideologies. Somewhere in the Brazilian hinterlands of the 1940s, ranch hand Manoel (Del Rey) becomes an outlaw after killing his swindling boss. He pledges allegiance to Sebastião (Silva), a self-styled holy man who preaches revolt against rich landowners even as he perpetrates unspeakable acts of violent zealotry against the innocent. While the landowners hire a mercenary (do Valle) to take out Sebastião, Manoel and his wife Rosa (Magalhães) leave, only to find themselves once more in league with evil, deluded forces. Steeped in history, myth, religion, and politics, and suffused with the feverish intensity of the blistering desert, BLACK GOD, WHITE DEVIL is one of the Cinema Novo movement’s most uncompromising statements on current social issues as well as the universal problem of mindless fanaticism. – Janus Films Brattle Debut!
“For all its heroic energy, hortatory anger, and impulsive youth, it’s very much a philosophical work of its time, a majestic fantasy of no way out.” – Richard Brody, New Yorker