Behind the sun - poster

Behind the Sun

Country: Brazil
Release Date: May 1, 2002
Genre(s): Drama
Director: Walter Salles
Cast: Rodrigo Santoro, José Dumont, Rita Assemany, Othon Bastos, Wagner Moura, Vinícius de Oliveira, Ravi Ramos Lacerda, Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos ...
Awards: Havana Film Festival: Best Director: Walter Salles; Venice Film Festival: Little Golden Lion

Our Score
7.6
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User Score:
2 votes
7.0

Behind the Sun

Behind the sun - sceneBehind the Sun (Portuguese title: Abril Despedaçado) is a 2001 Brazilian film directed by Walter Salles, produced by Arthur Cohn, and starring Rodrigo Santoro. Its original Portuguese title means Shattered April, and it is based on the novel of the same name (original Albanian title: Prill i Thyer) written by the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, about the honor culture in the North of Albania.

Abril Despedacado won the Little Golden Lion award at the 2001 Venice Film Festival. It was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the BAFTA Film Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.


Plot

In 1910 in a remote farming community, two families, the Breveses and the Ferreiras, both of whom earn their living growing sugar cane, have been squabbling over the ownership of a piece of land for years. The disagreement turned violent some time back, and after the first shot was fired and blood was spilled, the other family insisted upon killing the gunman as a matter of honor. The second shooter was then killed for the same reason, and ever since the two clans have been trading off murders in the name of familial honor and justice.

The Breveses, who are a much smaller family, have been suffering a great deal more than their rivals thanks to this feud; a steady drop in sugar prices has also left the family with little but their pride. When Incio, the first-born son of the Breves family, is shot down, his father (Jos (C) Dumont) orders his next-oldest son, Tonho (Rodrigo Santoro), to kill one of the Ferreira boys after the traditional month-long waiting period. Tonho finds himself questioning the wisdom of this bloody rivalry, and he ponders his fate while spending time with his younger brother (Ravi Ramos Lacerda), whom his parents never bothered to name.

As Tonho ponders his fate, a small traveling circus comes to town; Tonho and his brother are soon caught in the spell of Clara (Flavia Marco Antonio), a beautiful circus performer who befriends the young boy and nicknames him Pacu, while Tonho finds himself falling in love with her, and longing to travel the country at her side.


Awards

  • Havana Film Festival: Best Director: Walter Salles; House of the Americas Award: Walter Salles.
  • Prêmio Qualidade: Best Actor: Rodrigo Santoro; Best Supporting Actor:José Dumont.
  • Silver Daisy Awards: Silver Daisy.
  • Venice Film Festival: Little Golden Lion.

Datasheet

Directed by: Walter Salles
Produced by: Arthur Cohn
Written by: Ismail Kadare (novel), Karim Ainouz, Sérgio Machado,Walter Salles, João Moreira Salles and Daniela Thomas.
Cast: Rodrigo Santoro, José Dumont, Rita Assemany, Othon Bastos, Wagner Moura, Vinícius de Oliveira, Ravi Ramos Lacerda, Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos …
Music by: Ed Cortês, Antonio Pinto and Beto Villares.
Editing by: Isabelle Rathery.
Release date: May 1, 2002 (Brazil).
Running time: 105 minutes.
Country: Brazil.
Language: Portuguese.


Amazon’s Review

Behind the Sun is a rapturous Western, a big film about a big, unwanted destiny visited upon a vulnerable, young hero. Adapted from the novel Broken April by Albanian writer Ismail Kadare (the story has been transferred from Europe to Brazil’s rugged, northeastern badlands in 1910), Behind the Sun concerns two families and their long-running land war, which has robbed many a young man of his hope, love and, ultimately, life. Sent by his aggrieved father to avenge the slaying of an older brother, Tonho (Rodrigo Santoro), in torment, carries out his bloody, ancestral obligation and then proposes a truce between the families. Director Walter Salles (Central Station) aims to make a magnificently crafted, lush, and exotic epic told in broad strokes for art house aficionados, and he succeeds almost to a self-conscious fault. Still, there is nothing like a stirring, archetypal tragedy about the endless repercussions of violence and the sacrifice of innocence to a dubious cause. –Tom Keogh


Amazon Customer Reviews

A darkly brooding vision of the timelessness of vengeance By Grady Harp
The story in this film is simple: blood for blood feuding between two families in the backlands of Brazil. If left at that, this would be a conceptually boring movie, one done hundreds of times in various locations for varying Hollywood budgets. The glory of BEHIND THE SUN is in the presentation and transformation of a familiar precis into a visually stunning prolonged motion painting. Director Salles has assembled a cast of beautiful actors, minimized the Portuguese dialog so that the visuals may convey the text almost solo, and has added appropriations from other art forms to make this a memorable film. The only characters outside the feuding families are a traveling troupe of ‘clowns’ or a circus consisting of an older man and his senusously beautiful stepdaughter. This nod to the “I PAGLIACCI” opera invests intrigue and introduces the concept of the redeeming force of love into this otherwise blighted life story of a young man doomed to die for family honor. The photography is elegant, the acting is superb, the musical scoring is sensitively appropriate without drawing attention to itself. This is a very beautiful, very fine film.

A bleak story told in an austere place By Joseph Haschka
BEHIND THE SUN, with English subtitles for Portuguese dialogue, is a Brazilian version of the Hatfield-McCoy feud and set in 1910. The Breves family – husband, wife, and two sons – are hardscrabble sugar cane farmers. We don’t really know what the Ferreira family does – perhaps they’re ranchers. Both clans have waged a blood feud for generations over a wretched piece of land better bulldozed flat for a shopping mall. Considering the endless cycle of an eye for an eye, will Tonio, the oldest Breves son, live long enough to venture beyond his family’s land and experience love before the bloodstains on that Ferreira shirt turn from red to yellow in the wind and sun?

BEHIND THE SUN showcases actors that Americans have likely never seen before (and may never see again), but they’re all excellent: José Dumont as Tonio’s father, Rita Assemany as his mother, Ravi Lacerda as his young brother (“The Kid”), Flavia Antonio as bewitching Clara of the traveling carnival, and Rodrigo Santoro as Tonio himself. Filmed in color, the movie depicts a physical landscape of magnificent austerity. Had it been in black and white, it would have been almost brutal.

The film’s thematic message, I think, is that embedded tribal conflicts based on ethnicity or religion or, in this case, some overblown concept of “honor”, are almost impossible to resolve rationally and peacefully. And the film goes on to ask – and answer, in this particular storyline – the question of what must happen before the killing is to stop. My mild disenchantment with the theme of BEHIND THE SUN is the suspicion that it’s been done previously many more times than I realize, most recently to my knowledge in the excellent film NO MAN’S LAND, which deals with a more contemporary antagonism. Moreover, the script reduces the problem of tribal conflict to the simplest scenario possible and thus oversimplifies the issue beyond everyday realities. However, in that it strips the issue down to the bone, so to speak, it does manage to admirably clarify the stupidity and tragedy of such discord. BEHIND THE SUN is a film to be admired, but not one to be seen for light entertainment.

A time and a place and a cruel and barbaric code of honor By Linda Linguvic
This 2001 Brazilian film is one of the saddest I’ve ever seen. It’s set in 1910 in the cane fields of Brazil. There are two families who live on adjourning land who are part of a blood feud that has gone back so far in time that nobody remembers the details.

The story unfolds through the point of view of a 10-year old boy. He is the youngest of three sons. His oldest brother has been killed a month before and his bloodstained shirt is drying in the sun. Now that the blood has turned yellow, it is time to revenge his death. This task falls to his beloved 20-year old brother Tonio, who, after a heartbreaking chase, murders a son of the rival family.

Now, we all know that Tonio will be murdered just as his rival was murdered. And we know he, too, has a month to live while the bloody shirt of his opponent dries in the sun. A lot happens though during this month though. A traveling circus passes by and Tonio falls in love with a young fire-eating performer and wants to stop the cycle of violence.

The film was beautiful inasmuch as it captured a time and a place and a code of honor that seems cruel and barbaric. It also captured the human spirit of the people involved in this tragedy.

Behind the Sun, 7.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Images

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Trailers

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Behind the Sun
Behind the Sun (Portuguese title: Abril Despedaçado) is a 2001 Brazilian film directed by Walter Salles, produced by Arthur Cohn, and starring Rodrigo Santoro. Its original Portuguese title means Shattered April, and it is based on the novel of the same name (original Albanian title: Prill i Thyer) written...
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Categories: Brazilian movies, Images, Synopsis, Trailers

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  1. [...] dos Homens (2007)Tropa de Elite 2 – O Inimigo Agora É Outro (2010)Orfeu Negro (1959)Abril Despedaçado (2001)O Homem Que Copiava (2003)How we built the listThe initial  list was created by searching [...]

  2. [...] Awards nominations, for Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Foreign Language Film. In 2001, Abril Despedaçado (Behind the Sun), starring Rodrigo Santoro, was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Golden Globes. [...]

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