Director – Guel Arraes – 2023 – Brazil – Cert. none – 114m
The constantly shifting relationship between a man and his friend constantly shifts against the backdrop of a war between a street gang protecting their turf and an army trying to impose law and order – premieres in the Critics’ Picks Competition at the 27th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
Riobaldo (Caio Blat) tells his story. As a young boy in the urban jungle of Brazil’s Sertao, he bonds with fearless kid his own age Diadorim, who shows him how to scale brutalist towers and scare off predatory adults with an effective flick of the knife.
By the time Riobaldo has grown up to become a teacher, this concrete sprawl has become the battleground for a struggle between a gang led by local, criminal warlord Joca Ramiro (Rodrigo Lombardi) and forces under the command of Colonel Zé Bebelo (Luis Miranda) determined to restore law and order to the country. They may trade in violence, but both leaders are honourable men.
Not so one of Joca’s lieutenants Hermógenes (played with great relish by the ingratiating Eduardo Sterblitch), a seemingly unstoppable force of nature who has sold his soul to the devil to advance his own ends.… Read the rest