BEHIND THE SUN
In the remote, northern badlands of Brazil, The Breves (poor sugarcane farmers) and the adjacent Ferreiras families (better off cattle growers) have been feuding for generations, one killing a reply to the one before. Always about bits of land, always the sons seeking vengeance, in an endless blood ritual. As the eldest of the three Breves brothers is shot, it is 20 year old Tonho’s (Rodrigo Santoro) turn to avenge him, much to the consternation of his kid brother (Ravi Ramos Lacerda). One day, a man (Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos) and a pretty young woman (Flavia Marco Antonio), who work as travelling circus performers, pass by and the brief encounter triggers life changing consequences for all concerned.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The book is set in Albania, the film in Brazil, with the blessing of the author. What attracted Walter Salles to this subject is the universality of the themes exposed: blood feuds and their inescapable cycle, with their epic, tragic overtones. Man – men, to be precise - helpless in the face of their own insularity, perhaps. The devotion of the filmmakers in terms of research and in terms of attention to every detail to take us to this god-forsaken place, both geographically and emotionally, is remarkable.
Immersing us in the landscape and the very fabric of life on the Breves’ battle-axe cane plantation, we are encouraged to try and understand what we are witnessing, not merely tut-tut and pass judgement.
Told through the eyes and voice of the kid (the Breves are so poor they couldn’t afford a name other than ‘kid’), Behind the Sun is how he describes the place he calls home. The dot is officially called Stream of Saints Souls, but the stream has dried up, leaving only the souls. Ravi Ramos Lacerda makes an impressive feature film debut as the sad but spirited young boy, who so movingly engineers the climactic resolution of the story.
As with his previous award winning drama, Central Station, Walter Salles gets the best out of a great cast, and his direction ensures a powerful and haunting film.
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BEHIND THE SUN (M)
CAST: Jose Dumont, Rodrigo Santoro, Rita Assemany, Ravi Ramos Lacerda, Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Flavia Marco Antonio
PRODUCER: Arthur Cohn
DIRECTOR: Walter Salles
SCRIPT: Walter Salles, Sergio Machado, Karim Ainouz (inspired by Ismail Kadare’s novel, Broken April)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Walter Carvalho
EDITOR: Isabelle Rathery
MUSIC: Antonio Pino
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Cassio Amarante
OTHER: Portuguese with English subtitles.
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 28, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE
VIDEO RELEASE: October 23, 2002