Behind the Sun (Abril Despeda

By Laura Thomas,
In the spring of 1910, a young boy tells the story of two families stuck in an eye-for-an-eye blood bath on the remote plains of Brazil.
Author Rating: 
4.0 Stars - Very Good

A boy with no name tells the story of his older brother, Tonho, who is left with 20 days to live before the rival family avenges the death of their son in the Golden Globe nominated film, Behind the Sun.

This cycle of revenge is related through the eyes and words of the young boy, who is later named Pacu by a nomadic circus performer.

Pacu's simple and innocent telling of the full story is what makes this film great. Even though he is the smallest person in the film, relegated to the position of narrator, and the youngest character, he is the viewer's only vehicle for understanding the complicated and horrific culture of the two families. Through a child's eyes -- eyes that know nothing else expect what it is around them -... the viewer finds a common ground to stand on with those in the story.

That his brother must die for killing a member of the rival family is a fact of life for Pacu. He saw his other brother killed as well.

Director Walter Salles infuses the story of Tonho with small scenes of Pacu watching him in his last days. Pacu plays the frivilous fantasy games of a child in the dusty earth of the plains, taking moments to reflect on his brooding brother -... and later saving him. It's a stark contrast made all the more striking by the highly artistic cinematography.

Salles uses elegant visual imagery to add meaning and emotion to the story of the doomed boy and his young brother. Images of flying and other images conjured up by the fantasy tales of Pacu, such as mermaids and dragons, create feelings of escape and aspiration in the midst of a forlorn desert.

Each performance in the film is close to brilliant ...- especially those of Rodrigo Santoro (Tonho) and Ravi Ramos Lacereda (Pacu).

Behind the Sun is a stand-out example of the great things going on in the foreign film world now. American cinema would be so lucky to have films like this more often with great stories and great bfilmmaking.


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