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Black God White Devil – compered by Penny Woolcock


Sun 29 April 17:30, with live introduction by Penny Woolcock

An A Nos Amours event, hosted by film makers Joanna Hogg and Adam Roberts

Wanted for killing his boss, Manuel flees with his wife to the sertão, the barren landscape of Northern Brazil. Thrust into a primordial violent region, Manuel and Rosa come under the influence and control of a series of frightening figures. Sebastiao, a fanatic preacher who promises utopia but practices massacre, and a band of bandits called Cangaceiros led by Corisco. Shuttled between the “Black God” and “White Devil”, Manuel and Rosa’s struggle for survival escalates when Church authorities hire a hitman named Antonio das Mortes to hunt down every combatant in the region.

“An idea in the head and a camera in the hand” was director Glauber Rocha’s motto, and every shot in this film displays innovation of thought and control over form. In addition to writing and directing the film, Rocha wrote the folk songs scored by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Sergio Ricardo. Black God White Devil became the banner film of Brazil’s Cinema Novo movement. Its artistic achievement, acknowledged by Luis Buñuel and Bernardo Bertolucci, has made it a seminal classic of film history.

Director of screen and opera, Penny Woolcock (The Death of Klinghoffer, Tina Goes Shopping), will introduce Black God, White Devil.  A foretaste of her passion for it:

“I first saw this delirious film when I was a teenager over forty years ago and I’ve never forgotten Rosa traipsing around a bleak landscape in a stolen wedding veil, crazy Corisco wheeling and brandishing his sword and the music that made me want to turn the world upside down with them…  It has the joy and the horror of revolution and the hallucinatory quality of a very Latin American mix of mysticism and politics. It’s both naturalistic and insane, based on a peasant revolt in the North East of Brazil in the 1940’s; it’s the first spaghetti western, the first magical realist movie, formally inventive and absolutely beautiful.

“We are so tame these days, so well behaved.”

Join A Nos Amours at the Lexi for a magical mystery tour of potent cinema!