Black God, White Devil at Stonzek Theatre

Saturday, November 25, 2023

movie poster

Friday, November 24 | 6:00 pm
Saturday, November 25 | 3:00 pm | 5:15 pm | 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 26 | 3:00 pm | 5:15 pm

Director Glauber Rocha, Drama, Not Rated, Brazil, Portuguese with English subtitles, 1964, 120 min.

Continuing our exploration of cinematic genres from around the globe we travel to Brazil for this glorious restoration of the Cinema Novo masterpiece ‘Black God, White Devil’. The Brazilian genre like the French New Wave emphasized the individual expression of the filmmaker (auteur) as well as class struggle and the striving for social justice.

Glauber Rocha’s sophomore feature is a scorched-earth allegory about the blind followers of dead-end ideologies. Somewhere in the Brazilian hinterlands of the 1940s, ranch hand Manoel (Geraldo Del Rey) becomes an outlaw after killing his swindling boss. He pledges allegiance to Sebastião (Lidio Silva), a self-styled holy man who preaches revolt against rich landowners even as he perpetrates unspeakable acts of violent zealotry against the innocent. While the landowners hire a mercenary, Antonio das Mortes, (Maurício do Valle) to take out Sebastião, Manoel and his wife Rosa (Yoná Magalhães) join cangaceiros Corisco (Othon Bastos) and Dadá (Sonia Dos Humildes), only to find themselves once more in league with evil, deluded forces. Steeped in history, myth, religion, and politics, and suffused with the feverish intensity of the blistering desert, Black God, White Devil is one of the Cinema Novo movement’s most uncompromising statements on current social issues as well as the universal problem of mindless fanaticism.

Brand new luscious B&W 4K Restoration

Music by Hector Villa-Lobos

“This ecstatic panorama of furious visions and revolutionary dreams is one of the founding works of modern Brazilian cinema.”

– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Rocha, who wrote the script and most of the lyrics, consciously uses iconography from Eisenstein (POTEMKIN, QUE VIVA MEXICO), Buñuel (NAZARIN), and Godard (LES CARABINIERS) to create a mise-en-scene that’s decidedly European avant-garde, while he has the actors pose and speak in a deliriously theatrical manner derived from Brecht and Grotowski. The fusion of European and Afro-Brazilian elements—dialogue, exquisite black-and-white images, and music by Villa-Lobos—is startlingly original and poetical in conveying the hope and despair of the oppressed.”

— Ted Shen, Chicago Reader

Stonzek Theatre
709 Lake Ave.