Entranced Earth (Terra em Transe) - (Mr Bongo Films) (1967) [DVD]
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Like any South American nation of the 60s, the fictional El Dorado is a land yearning for genuine reforms. Unfortunately it is beset by a chimera composed of religious fanaticism, crass nationalism and an indifferent educated class. Paolo Martins (Jardel Filho) is a poet, a former supporter of senator Porfirio Diaz (Paolo Autran), a right-wing religious fundamentalist. However through his contact with Sara, a communist, Paolo changes his political convictions and swerves towards Felipe Viera (Jose Lewgoy), a liberal governor who is the country's sole bulwark against totalitarianism. Politics in Eldorado becomes enmeshed in the purview of the media and business class, giving way to an internecine arena scattered with violence and paper thin loyalties.
Entranced Earth displays the grandiloquent visual expression of Glauber Rocha s folk westerns (Black God White Devil, Antonio das Mortes) but its sober current provides an acute and lucid glimpse of a political system in crisis. Made in 1967, Entranced Earth ranks amongst the great classics of political cinema such as Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers and Costa-Gavras' Z.
Brutal classic --Uncut Magazine
Explosive study of art and politics in the third world...Rocha s most personal film as well as his most brilliant contribution to political cinema --Jump Cut
Full of Wellesian deep-focus investigations of dark and ornate interiors...Exemplary and unreal --New York Times
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The artistic elements of Entranced Earth run deep. The main character, Paulo, is a poet and much of the story is told like poetry (if you understand Portuguese). Paulo is friends with two politicians who more often than not have their own interests in mind and not those of the people. The film was made when Brazil was under a dictatorship and the director, Glauber Rocha, crafts his message carefully so as not to offend the government but also criticizing corruption and a government gone bad. Entranced Earth distances itself from modern politics in Brazil by taking place in Eldorado, a country in the Atlantic. It attempts to capture the mixture of conflict, corruption, revolution and the turmoil that results from it.
Mixing politics and poetry is fairly unusual and sets Entranced Earth apart from other cinema. Unquestionably, Entranced Earth is an intellectual movie; it jumps from idea to idea in a way that isn't always easy to follow and may require watching more than once to take it all in. It is possible that Glauber Rocha was ahead of his time with attempting such a feat.
However, keeping in mind that in this is movie Brazil was under a tough military dictatorship, this movie is a milestone in the history of Brazilian New Cinema. Glauber Rocha was very braze, discussing forbidden themes such as fight of classes, manipulation of the submissive masses by the elites, corruption in politician, anarchism, campaign promises not kept after the elections, economical power of foreign groups (or countries) in Latin American countries and coup d'état. In 1967, "Terra em Transe" was awarded with "Great Prize" in the Locarno Festival (Switzerland); "Luis Buñuel Prize" in Cannes Festival; "Federation of International Critics Prize" in Cannes Festival; and Best Movie of the Year in the Air France Prize, among other prizes