Movie Review by Alice Castle
Starring: Rodrigo Santoro, Jose Dumont, Rita Assemany, Ravi Ramos Lacerda
Director: Walter Salles
Nominated for a BAFTA (best film in a foreign language) BEHIND THE SUN is a simple love story set in a far flung corner of rural Brazil. Based on a novel by Albanian writer Ismail Kadare the film focuses on two neighbouring families enmeshed in a blood feud over land rights. It’s all a matter of honour – an eye for an eye, and plenty of ‘tooth’ shedding – generation after generation – all for a few acres of largely hostile desert-like land. The Breves family are the underdogs at this particular moment in time, and have already lost one son in the feud. His blood stained shirt is hung out as a daily reminder of what the family has sacrificed for their honour.
The remaining sons Tonio (Rodrigo Santoro) and Pacu (Ravi Ramos Lacerda) are slaves to their parents, expected to work the farm like oxen and encouraged to breed the same sense of self-sacrifice that finished off their elder brother in order to protect the family name. But there’s a hitch. And it comes in the shape of a young woman – one part of a travelling circus duo who turns the handsome young Tonio’s eye and makes him see a life outside the constraints of family, feud and farm.
Encouraged by his younger and gutsier brother, Tonio decides to go it alone even though he knows his days are numbered and at the next full moon he will be sought out by the rival family and shot.
BEHIND THE SUN is directed by Walter Salles and produced by Anthony Cohn,
the team behind CENTRAL STATION. With beautiful cinematography by Walter Carvalho who filmed in northeast Brazil at temperatures of 40 degrees C it captures the stifling atmosphere of family tension and betrayal. Excellent performances too by Santoro and the young actor Ravi Ramos Lacerda.