Violence: A Striking Theme throughout God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun Essay

Words: 1959
Pages: 8

Discuss Glauber Rocha’s approach to violence and morality in God and the Devil in the Land of Sun.

Glauber Rocha’s purpose as a filmmaker, as he explains, has always been to contribute to the creation of a cinema that is genuinely Brazilian, based on national features, which can facilitate the social and political awareness required for the transformation of Brazil as a country. In the course of forming an identity for a new national cinema, which sought to deviate from the conventions of the Hollywood model, Glauber Rocha often employs themes such as hunger, violence and morality. These, in their most true-to-life forms, consolidate the harshness of the reality that permeates Brazil, particularly the Northern area, and differentiates
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Following an argument with him over the settlement of some cattle, Manuel feels victimised, humiliated, and revolts by using his knife to kill the Colonel. The sequence is abrupt, with sharp cuts, dramatic soundtrack, and a handheld camera that frantically follows the horses, focusing on the men wrestling along the ground, marking the agitated atmosphere. Violence is depicted as the only way in which Manuel can realise justice, when morality stipulates that the law is with the colonel. It is represented as an everyday essence, keen to his survival. It is through violence that Manuel escapes different levels of confinement, and through death that he can emerge into an entirely new situation.

Thereafter, violence is portrayed as a way of purification and redemption. The idea of sacrificial redemption, and of redemptive violence is repeated throughout the movie. Nominally, the beating of the prostitutes as a form of purifying the women who have gone astray, of punishing the flesh to save the spirit and the long scene where Manuel is trying to carry the stone on his head, kneeling on the path to Monte Santo. Filmed by hand with no soundtrack, these scenes are anxious to watch, and represent the total offering of oneself to the Beatos and to the pious ritual of purification.

The extremity of Manuel’s devotion to this cult and unquestioned adoption of its moral values is evident through the sacrifice of the