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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 6 October 2014
Original title in Portuguese is `Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol'; which translates as, "God and the Devil in the Land of Sun". Seen as the leader in Cinema Novo, director Glauber Rocha was just 25 when he made this in 1964. It uses for its message the plight of Manoel - who is a poor ranch hand. They are literally `dirt poor' so in an attempt for change he goes to market to sell his stock. Once there his boss tries to steal his earnings from him by abuse of his authority. Manoel flies into a rage, after reasoning wont work, and he kills his boss.

Now a wanted man Manoel flees with his wife Rosa. He has heard of a living saint in the shape of Sebastião (Lidio Silva), who advocates a lot of bunkum, but also the use of violence. As most of his venom is directed towards the ruling classes, he gets a fair amount of followers from the local peasantry. However, he is far from being benevolent and blood begets blood.

The story moves along with a selection of bandits, corrupt clergy, corrupt government and mercenaries. The madness is almost comedic in places. But this was all seen as an indictment on the current societal condition in Brazil. It reminded me of `El Topo' in places and is said to have been a great influence on many in the industry including Bernardo Bertolucci and drawing praise from the great Luis Buñuel. It is violent but not a gore fest and it is a challenging watch, Buñuel described it as `savage poetry' and I can not put it better myself. But at two hours it may be a tad long for some.

This is a presentation from Mr Bongo films and the print is not a remastered one, so the picture is not all it could be in places. Also this was made in the day when everything was dubbed, so there is little depth to the soundscape, and it is in monochrome but despite all of the above, this is still a phenomenal cinematic feast. This is one for all true cinema fans.
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on 1 December 2008
A Brazilian Bonnie and Clyde, this film is defiantly very high in my opinion of top black and white classics. Bleak in its portrayal of a nation caught in political frustration, raw in its savage rendering of two lives wrapped up in crime, this film is a stirring picture of a world of mysticism and loss. An epic depiction of the tragic characters of young lovers on the run, cascading through a corrupt land of social turmoil.
A striking thing about it was the incredible sense of unharmonious poetry between the lovers in a land of deep beauty and violence, chased by the law and shunned by society and desperate in their plight to freedom.
A definite mile stone in world cinema, this film contains all the stark imagery of a cruel world and potent messages of social disruption within. A wonderful film, absolute classic!
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on 8 March 2009
Black God, White Devil shows us life in Brazil isn't always easy but one could change their fate. Poverty and dry conditions could be enough to make some give up their aspirations, while others clung to hope - that a miracle would change everything. Manuel is full of hope, even if his wife Rosa isn't, believing that life will get better. In a heated dispute with his boss, Manual ends up killing him, which forces him and his wife to have to flee. Manual looks at this as a sign by God that things will change and isn't discouraged.

Manual ends up joining St. Sebastian, who is a charismatic preacher with a throng that follows him wherever he goes. In a way, one could say St. Sebastian is like a cult leader because he manipulates others and controls his followers. St. Sebastian gives sermons filled with disdain of the rich and offers hope to the poor but he has a militant side in which he doesn't mind using force in killing others. Manual becomes mesmerized by St. Sebastian and turns into his loyal disciple.

The government as well as the Catholic Church are not in favor of St. Sebastian and hire Antonio das Mortes to kill him. When the smoke clears, Manual and Rosa end up joining a revolutionary who acts more like a bandit, which makes both of them feeling they are not on the right path again.

Glauber Rocha directed this renowned Brazilian film in 1964. I like how there are songs periodically that narrate and explain what is going on as it gives the film a nice touch. I got the sense that the songs gave the story a feeling that the events are legends or will be one day.
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on 25 August 2009
The question is at what time did Alejandro Jodorowsky watch Black God White Devil, because the similarity between this film and El Topo is nothing but remarkable. Any fan of Jodorowsky may be sure to find Black God White Devil a truly inspirational film in many ways; first of all its originality. Jodorowsky is undoubtedly original but Rocha so obviously paved the way. This film is by no means a surreal adventure, but more so it is poetic, shockingly brutal and a genuinely thought provoking journey that carries its viewer along with ease. A stunning film with a steady pace and some really unforgettable imagery. It isn't difficult to understand why this film was awarded the Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm in 1964.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 August 2011
I loved the first two-thirds of this jaw-dropping epic. For my second viewing, this time with a friend, we both agreed that it fell to pieces after that point, becoming incoherent and unfathomable, but still being stylish and remaining quite strange.

The visual sense was part 'Aguirre, Wrath of God' and Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon a Time in the West'. But, in grainy, high contrast black & white. Camera movements are urgent rather than flowing with the odd editing flourish to enliven the action. We both found this approach initially utterly mesmerising.

This film is of hardcore fanaticism, with religious bigotry and the sheer survival in the harsh scrub desert-lands of northern Brazil. Some scenes are reminiscent of Russian cinematic masterpieces by Eisentstein, as in Ivan the Terrible. I think some scenes will offend and appal many viewers whilst still retaining mystery and that 'Wow, this is something totally different and exciting'. The sort of film that has the critics swooning but with the actual film-lover rather less than overawed.

I'd rather not go into all the narrative in and outs, mostly because it is the overall effect and impression that it has left on me that I feel is more important. Unforgettable, true; daring and significant, undoubtedly. But that doesn't make it a film any easier to watch, though. I would give the first two thirds 5 stars and the remainder three.
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on 11 December 2011
I saw this in the sixties at a college film club, so pleased to find it in a modern form. A fairly strange film from somone apparently named after a chemical product ( Glauber salts ). The Brazilian outback is impressive in black and white.
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on 1 October 2015
100% boredom.Poorly directed and poor editing.Wooden acting as well.Oh dear....
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on 2 August 2015
Everything in order.
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