Land in Anguish | Chicago Reader

Land in Anguish

A Brazilian poet and journalist torn between political activism and bourgeois indulgence stands at the center of this 1967 political fable by Cinema Novo director Glauber Rocha. The story takes place in a fictional province called El Dorado, where a populist gubernatorial candidate runs afoul of the established interests and Paulo, the idealistic intellectual, must choose sides. Rocha presents him as a doomed romantic in a third-world agitprop drama, an indecisive but tormented cipher who flits between street protests and decadent parties. In a sense, the film suffers from the same conflict: Rocha?s frenzied mise-en-scene, which borrows from Fellini, Antonioni, and European avant-garde theater, is so stylized and self-referential that it probably appealed less to the masses than to the left-wing intelligentsia it scrutinizes.

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