An episode in early colonialism whipped up into a budget costumer, "Brave New Land" is solidly conventional behind its verismo front. Low on dramatic conflict and uninterestingly shot (apart from the striking natural locations), yarn about a group of trailblazing Portuguese in the wilds of 18th-century Brazil looks destined for only specialized outings in non-Latino lands.
An episode in early colonialism whipped up into a budget costumer, “Brave New Land” is solidly conventional behind its verismo front. Low on dramatic conflict and uninterestingly shot (apart from the striking natural locations), yarn about a group of trailblazing Portuguese in the wilds of 18th-century Brazil looks destined for only specialized outings in non-Latino lands.
Filmer Lucia Murat has expanded a few sentences of historical record — the massacre of 54 soldiers by Guaicuru Indians at Coimbra Fort in the Mato Grosso in 1778 — into a semi-didactic study of European yang confronting Third World yin. Story centers on a cartographer, Diogo (Portuguese thesp Diogo Infante). In pic’s most cliched development, he falls for a beautiful native princess, Anote (Luciana Rigueira), impregnates her in a poetic location and suffers crises of colonial conscience before learning the harsh realities of Guaicuru society. Budgetary constraints hamper what little drama is happening onscreen, and only actor to make much of an impression is Leonardo Villar as the fort’s gnarled, pragmatic commander.
**AU: Derek Elley
Brave New Land
A Riofilme release of a Taiga Filmes & Videos production, in association with Costa do Castelo Filmes (Portugal), Quanta, Bigdeni, Skylight. (International sales: Taiga, Rio de Janeiro.) Produced by Lucia Murat. Executive producer, Cristina Ache.
Directed, written by Lucia Murat.
Camera (color), Antonio Luiz Mendes; editors, Mair Tavares, Cesar Migliorin; music, Livio Tragtenburg; production designer, Jose Joaquim Salles; art director, Shell Jr.; costume designer, Ines Salgado. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema), Sept. 7, 2000. Original title: Brava gente brasiliera. Running time: 103 MIN.
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