Screened as part of NZIFF 2002

Behind the Sun 2001

Abril despedaçado

Directed by Walter Salles

Brazil / France / Switzerland In Portuguese with English subtitles
92 minutes CinemaScope



Walter Salles, Sérgio Machado, Karim Aïnouz. Inspired by the novel Broken April by Ismail Kadaré


Walter Carvalho


Isabelle Rathéry


José Dumont
Rodrigo Santoro
Rita Assemany


Few films succeed so dramatically in conveying the mythic power of folklore. Telling the story of a young man determined to escape the blood feud of his elders, Brazilian director Walter Salles (Central Station, Midnight) combines narrative excitement with an intense, poetic appreciation of physical life. Shot with an sweepingly mobile camera in the wide open spaces of Brazil's remote northeastern badlands, Behind the Sun is graced with a cast who give the emblematic figures – embittered patriarch, callow young man, alluring princess, innocent child – a vital humanity. — BG 

"Brazilian director Walter Salles’ follow-up to his 1998 Oscar-nominated film, Central Station, nimbly blends elements of folklore, fairy tale and myth into a tale about family honor and the costs of maintaining it. Set in 1910 on a sugar-cane farm, the film is narrated by young Pacu (Ravi Ramos Lacerda), who navigates the viewer through a tale of stolen land, revenge and lives twisted by hatred. Salles captures the harshness of his characters’ lives in powerful wide and long shots that convey both the stark beauty and the relentless brutality of the land. With an eye for painterly and poetic details, he essays emotions that words insufficiently express. A shirt flapping in the breeze as blood yellows around a bullet hole invokes heartache and loss while simultaneously serving as a defiant flag; an overhead shot of a circus woman twirling wildly from a rope is sexy, energetic and drenched in swirling colors. The story kicks into motion when a young man sets off to avenge his brother’s death and finds the deadly trek filled with revelation. That tragedy looms heavily in Behind the Sun only makes its life-affirming moments – brothers laughingly sharing a swing, the lusty charge between a beautiful man and a stunning woman – resonate more deeply and powerfully in a film that is one of the year’s best." — Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly