BEHIND THE SUN
Bound by Honor
Release Date: December 21, 2001
Genre: Historical Drama
Runtime: 92 minutes.
Distributor: Miramax Films/Disney/Buena Vista
Director: Walter Salles
Executive Producer: Lillian Birnbaum & Mauricio Andrade Ramos
Producer: Arthur Cohn & Marcelo Torres
Address Comments To:Bob & Harvey Weinstein
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The Breves are a small, hardworking family. The family processes sugarcane with their oxen the old fashioned way. Many of the boys over the generations have died in the feud. Now, the family is down to two boys.
Tonho goes to the neighboring plantation and, at the appropriate moment, shoots the oldest son of the Ferreira family. He goes then with his father to the funeral. The patriarch of the neighboring family tells Tonho that he has one month to live, and when the shirt of the young man who Tonho shot turns yellow in the sun, then they will seek their revenge.
Meanwhile, Pacu sees a circus wagon traveling past his home. He is entranced by the young circus women, Clara, and she in turn gives him a book, although he cannot read. When he tells Tonho, they sneak out at night and go to the town to watch the two circus performers. Attraction flies between the young girl, Clara, and Tonho.
When they get home, Pa whips Tonho and tells him that because he's going to die in a month he must work harder to process the sugarcane. Tonho runs away with the circus, but returns just before the month is up. Clara runs away from her stepfather to find him. They spend the night together in the barn. The neighbor tracks Tonho, and . . . .
BEHIND THE SUN is an incredibly well-produced movie. It clearly condemns the stupidity of a code of honor that would destroy these families. It makes a redemptive appeal to break the bondage of this archaic code.
The allegorical elements in the movie are mesmerizing. The little town is called the Stream of Souls, but, as Pacu says, there are no streams here, only souls.
The photography in BEHIND THE SUN is haunting, and the acting is wonderful, especially Ravi Ramos Lacerda as Pacu, who is wise beyond his years. Rodrigo Santoro plays Tonho as a matinee idol. Flavia Marco Antonio plays Clara with a deep knowledge of human nature.
Regrettably, as in too many movies, the father with his insistence on honor even in light of the death of his sons, is the villain. Furthermore, Pacu accuses God of messing up, Christianity is sometimes portrayed at times as vengeful and is distorted by ancestor worship, although there is a redemptive ending as well as heartfelt prayers, positive appeals to Jesus Christ and a powerful redemptive climax. However, the resolution muddies things with a strong Romantic element that seems to lead nowhere. This resolution's open-endedness will appeal to students of foreign films, though it does muddy the premise and worldview of the movie.
In all, BEHIND THE SUN is a terrific insight into South American culture. For those who like foreign films, it is worth watching.
BEHIND THE SUN condemns a code of honor that destroys families and makes a redemptive appeal to break this archaic code. The photography is haunting. Regrettably, Christianity is sometimes portrayed as vengeful and distorted by ancestor worship, although there are prayers to Jesus and a redemptive climax. However, the Romantic resolution muddies the movie. In all, BEHIND THE SUN is a terrific insight into South American culture