Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Black God, White Devil (1964)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Black God, White Devil (1964, Brazil) (Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol)

In Glauber Rocha's allegorical, stark black and white crime drama/western - a socio-political statement (about the brutalized working class) with mystical and religious Biblical elements; it emerged as one of the most influential Brazilian films of all-time (one of the revolutionary examples of Cinema Novo):

  • set in the 1940s in scorched and drought-plagued Brazil, the scene of an oppressed, illiterate peasant-cowhand Manuel (Geraldo Del Rey) who accidentally and self-defensively murdered his cheating landlord during an argument about money, and then fled as a fugitive with his patient, long-suffering wife Rosa (Yoná Magalhães)
  • their joining of the pilgrimage of self-proclaimed, mystic saint - the black preacher-prophet Sebastião (Lidio Silva) (the Black God of the film's title) who promoted social upheaval, violence, and other disturbing utopian doctrines (including human sacrifice) due to his apocalyptic visions (about the raining of gold)
  • the Sisyphus myth scene - the sight of Manuel carrying a huge rock on his head while climbing the mystical mountain of Monte Santo on his knees, next to Sebastiao
  • the infant sacrificial sequence during a solar eclipse when Rosa became possessed, and Sebastiao - during a ritual before a candle-lit altar - slaughtered her newborn baby in Manuel's arms by silently sticking a long sword into it; he then smeared blood on Rosa's forehead in the sign of the cross with the bloody implement; in retaliation, Rosa killed Sebastiao by stabbing him in the back (and then once in the stomach) with a dagger in front of the altar
The Sacrificial Murder of Manuel's and Rosa's Infant
and Her Retaliation by Stabbing Sebastiao in Front of the Altar
  • Manuel's joining up with the gang of fierce, nomadic outlaw bandolero Captain Corisco (Othon Bastos) (the White Devil of the film's title) - he was recognizable wearing a Napoleonic-styled hat with dangling coins; Corisco was the sworn enemy of hired assassin Antonio das Mortes (Mauririo Do Valle) who represented the forces of the Catholic Church and landowners against the bandits
  • the film's cyclical ending following a deadly showdown - after Antonio killed Corisco at close range with his shot-gun, Manuel and Rosa took to their third flight across the barren land after another act of violence

Peasant Fugitive Manuel
(Geraldo Del Rey)

Manuel as Sisyphus, Climbing Mountain With Preacher Sebastiao (The Black God)

Bandolero Capt. Corisco (The White Devil)

Another Flight For Manuel and Rosa After A Deadly Showdown


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