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In 1942, the lonely German Johann travels through the arid roads in the country of the Northeast of Brazil in his truck selling aspirins in small villages, using advertisement movies to promote the medicine. He meets the drifter Ranulpho, who intends to go to Rio de Janeiro seeking a better life, and gives a ride to the man. While traveling together, they develop a close friendship, but on 31 August 1942, Brazil declares war to Germany and Johann has to decide if he should return to his home country and fight in the war, or stay in Brazil in a concentration camp; but the option of moving to Amazonas with the migrants of the drought seems to be feasible.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The road movie is such a hallowed genre; I always think of Easy Rider, Harry and Tonto, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Thelma and Louise, and many more. You can escape from something, or go toward something, and I think Ranulpho and Johann are doing both. Ranulpho is the grouchy, sensual Sancho Panza to Johann's cool, resourceful Quixote; they work very well together--excellent casting.
If the story is less than gripping (we don't feel the tension surrounding Johann's status as an enemy alien, and the war seems comically far away, despite the radio broadcasts), the direction is often very accomplished, and the locales are brought to life with great care. I want to see what Gomes can do in the future.
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