The Turning Wind



Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

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741.73 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 21 min
P/S 8 / 11
1.35 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 21 min
P/S 10 / 19

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by kamerad7 / 10

Confusion as Political Statement *CONTAINS SPOILERS*

I must honestly say that I never thought I would chose to write anything on Glauber Rocha. Frankly, the most common reactions I have when I watch a Rocha film are (in order) confusion, frustration, anger and boredom. At first I always find the films to be bold and dynamic. Quickly however, I begin to feel that the films aren't going anywhere. I lose track of who the characters are. That wouldn't be so bad, but I need the characters to help me understand what the filmmaker is trying to say. If I can't understand the point of the film, I become frustrated and wonder why I'm watching it in the first place. Rocha's flashy imagery and rhetoric spewing characters mean nothing to me. My brain shuts off and I fall asleep.

Please don't get me wrong. I believe Rocha to be an important filmmaker, and I really try to understand his films. It's just that they're so. I'm not quite sure. Weird doesn't begin to describe these films. Nevertheless, I think he deserves credit for attempting to present his ideas in a radically new way. I'm sure for many people his films are successful. Barravento, Rocha's first film, is probably the film that his admirers like the least, given that it is the least `Rocha-esque' and that Rocha himself disowned the film. It should be no surprise then, that Barravento is the only Rocha film I have seen so far that I have enjoyed. I hope to explain why I like this film while at the same time exploring the film flaws.

The story, unlike Rocha's other films, is easy to follow. On the surface, at least. Firmino returns to his hometown, the (predominantly black) fishing village of Burquino. Firmino is outraged that the townspeople are using equipment supplied by, and are working for a large fishing company. Firmino also feels that the people are brainwashed by their religion, Candomblé, and encourages the people to break free from it. He cuts the fishing nets in order for the people to go back to their previous fishing methods. His main opponent is Arua, the young, handsome virgin, whom the people respect and believe to be protected by the Sea Goddess. Firmino also has his girlfriend Cota seduce Arua, thereby depriving of his protection from the Sea Goddess. At the end after two climactic scenes (a wild storm, or barravento, that takes the lives of several people, and a one on one fight between Arua and Firmino, that Firmino wins),Firmino leaves the village again, followed by Arua. There is a subplot involving Arua's girlfriend's seduction into the Candomblé religion.

When this film was screened in my Cuban/Brazillian Film class at Concordia University here in Montreal, there seemed to be a great deal of confusion about the story. I found this odd, since the plot lines in Rocha's other films fly completely over my head, and this one seemed much easier to follow. However if the story itself was easy to follow, the motivations behind the characters are somewhat more muddled. However upon looking further into that, it seems the film might be more `Rocha-esque' than we first thought. Let me explain. The character of Firmino is an interesting one. The leftist ideology that he spreads throughout the film seems to make sense. In-fact he is a precursor to characters in later Rocha films, who stand in front of the camera and shout their views loudly, except Firmino is easier to follow, and in the end the townspeople decide that he was right. However he also causes the deaths (indirectly) of many people (including his lover) in order `enlighten the people'. This seems to be regarded by most people as a flaw in the films logic.

There are other contradictions as well. The film seems to support Arua's sexual awakening of being seduced by Cota. It is partly because of this that Arua is able to leave the village. However, Arua's seduction also seems cause the barravento. Also confusing is the films attitude towards the Candomblé religion. The film clearly has a message that the religion is entrapping the people, keeping them from realizing their potential, and yet the Sea Goddess seems to exist, causing the barravento. I believe however, that these `flaws' might be intentional. In the case of Firmino, Rocha might be making a comment about how just because someone's political ideas are in the progressive, that doesn't make him perfect. This theme is reflected in more complex ways in later films of his. Likewise, in the case of Arua and the Candomblé religion, the confusion might also be a way of commenting on the conventions of narrative and theme. Perhaps Rocha wants us to think about the way we normally see films as having a concrete `message'.

Of course, since Rocha did not finish the film himself, we won't know for sure if all this confusion is intentional, but I think I'm on to something. In fact I think the film helps one prepare for Rocha's later, even more challenging films by not giving us any easy answers.

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