Saturday, October 01, 2011


The Complete The Hollywood Reporter review here.

Local Afro-Brazilian myth springs to life in the entertaining "Besouro," that rare martial arts film that has an engrossing story to tell and a social point to make. Here the focus is on Capoeira players, who, lead by the legendary hero Besouro, combine acrobatic dancing and fighting to liberate themselves from the oppression of a white plantation owner.

This first feature by Joao Daniel Tikhomiroff, a veteran director of commercials, is enlivened by well-choreographed action scenes set amid the breathtaking natural sanctuary of Brazil's Chapada Diamantina. High production values could earn it some cross-cultural video release targeting teen audiences.

Set in the jungles of Bahia in the 1920s, the tale is firmly grounded in its historical time and place, when rich white landowners exploited black workers like slaves, even after the nominal abolition of slavery. The action begins when Master Alipio (Macale), who has taught the art of Capoeira to Besouro, Dinora and Quero-Quero since they were children, is brutally murdered on the orders of Col. Venancio, the young plantation owner. The Colonel's attempt to nip rebellion in the bud has just the opposite effect, and from beyond the grave, Master Alipio urges his young student Besouro (played by the athletic Ailton Carmo, a professional Capoeira player) to fight for his people.

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