- By Zeba Blay
- September 7, 2013 9:36 AM
- 2 Comments
It’s called Brazilian Western, but director René Sampaio’s debut feature film could better be described as something of an amalgamation of genres. The movie, set in 1980s Brasilia and loosely based on a popular Brazilian folk song of the same name, tells the story of an outlaw named João (Fabrício Boliveira) who moves to the bustling city to start his life anew. At first, things seem to go well: his distant cousin Pablo (Cesar Troncoso), a local drug pin, graciously takes him in. But then, a drug delivery on behalf of his cousin goes horribly wrong, putting him on the bad side of not only the corrupt cops but also the crazy drug dealer Jeremias (Felipe Abib) who has them all in his pocket.
So, here we have a period piece, something of a crime story, a narco movie reminiscent, narratively, of films like Scarface. It’s also a romance: on the run from the police, João meets Maria Lúcia (Isis Valverde), an architecture student and the daughter of a senator, who lives in the nice part of town, worlds away from the life that João has always known. And yet, they embark upon a perfect love affair, fueled by the excellent pot supply João helps his cousin grow and sell, until Maria Lúcia finds out he deals drugs and leaves him, while rival drug dealers and dirty cops finally exact revenge on him for encroaching on their turf.