The premature death of charismatic filmmaker Glauber Rocha in 1981 at the age of 42 is still an emotional issue for many Brazilians. Structured around Rocha’s huge public funeral, Silvio Tendler’s “Glauber the Movie, Labyrinth of Brazil” concentrates less on his films than his exuberant, revolutionary personality that tied him so intensely to his country. Among recent docu-bios of Rocha, it’s strongest in adding a human dimension, but emphasis on contemporary film figures and little-explored life episodes make it seem targeted to local auds rather than foreigners.
Leading the early ’60s Cinema Novo movement, Rocha brought Brazilian cinema to world attention with his rough-hewn, screamingly revolutionary “Black God, White Devil,” “Land in Anguish” and “Antonio das Mortes.” Here, however, Tendler portrays Rocha the man — an eccentric, provocative figure who could talk for hours in a state of wild excitement about his dreams for Brazil. His self-exile in Cuba, New York and Europe during the military dictatorship is glossed over, while an unusual amount of time goes to his ungracious outburst against Louis Malle, among others, at the 1980 Venice Film Festival and the reaction of Italian scholars Lino Micciche and Adriano Apra.