Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Given Word (1962)

Cannes Film Festival 1962

Palme d'Or
Anselmo Duarte

Cinedistri (Brazil)
Directed by Anselmo Duarte
My rating: 3 stars out of 4

A country farmer and devout Catholic makes a bargain with his beloved Saint Barbara to save his ill donkey in exchange for carrying a large cross to a faraway church in the city. He undertakes the arduous journey with his wife, but when they arrive at the church they are deprived entry by the priest. He believes their bargain was with a pagan god, not Saint Barbara. The standoff continues for many days, with local politicians, the press and the general public becoming more involved. Meanwhile, his wife has a one night stand with a pimp who seduces her on the street, further complicating his dire situation. The symbolism is a bit too obvious at times, but the scathing indictment of church hypocrisy is skillfully and convincingly presented.

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