Manuel works as a ranch hand on the Brazilian Sertao in the 1940s. With another drought threatening the livelihood of Manuel and his wife, Rosa, he is beyond fed up with his current situation. In an act of rage after his boss tries to cheat him out of the little earnings he has, Manuel murders his boss and flees with Rosa. On the run, Manuel and Rosa form allegiances with various religious and political extremist groups as the two simply look for a place where they can start again. Glauber Rocha's Black God, White Devil is a stunning vision of hopelessness, capturing the human struggle in both concrete and abstract ways. The film features some fantastic black and white cinema, that is atmospheric and at times incredibly poignant in its ability to illicit and emotional response from the viewer. Geraldo Del Ray, who plays Manuel, is perfectly cast in this film, from both a physical and performance standpoint. From his sun-beaten skin, to his disheveled presence, the viewer is sympathetic of this passive man who desperately seeking someone or something he can believe, in a society which has given him little to nothing. We see the crimes and/or morally corrupt acts which one commits simply for the sake of religion or cultural acceptance in Black God, White Devil, with Glauber Rocha suggesting that man must have the courage and commitment to determine his own values and decisions instead of being corrupted by this mob-mentality or group think. Black God, White Devil isn't a particularly great drama by traditional standards, opting much more for a cinematic experience which both shocks, tantalizes and affects the viewer with its abstract approach.
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