Helmers Paulo Caldas and Lirio Ferreira run past a couple of bloodthirsty murders to establish who it is Abrahao is dealing with, but also show surprising scenes of Lampiao leading the cangaceiros in prayer under a tree, and the drunken outlaw band laughing as they “re-enact” one of their feared attacks for the camera.
After his stay in the outlaws’ camp, Abrahao goes back to Rio to develop and distribute the film. Soon he is appearing in the papers as “the Arab who filmed Lampiao.” His film is a huge success, until a dispute with his powerful backer ends in it being banned as unpatriotic. He dies in a horrible scene of murder-cum-cannibalism. But pic’s final message is that Abrahao was a true hero who always believed that “the outcast will succeed.”
Though small in scale, pic vaunts an imaginative camera style. Lenser Paulo Jacinto dos Reis uses a quasi-expressionist palette and camera angles, often framing the shot from directly above or below the action. Music tracks are equally unexpected excerpts from hard-driving local rock groups and period songs. The fake “historical” footage in grainy B&W archive stock is so convincing it could pass for the real thing.