The Films of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade
The Priest and the Girl
Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Brazil, 1966, 35mm, 90 min., b&w, Portuguese w/ English subtitles
Shot in a
small village in the province of Minas Gerais, Andrade’s first full-fledged
feature film calls to mind Robert Bresson in its formal austerity, severe
black-and-white cinematography, and religious milieu. The film’s protagonist is
a young priest who arrives in the village to replace his dying predecessor. He
befriends the young and beautiful Mariana, only to discover that she’s enmeshed
in an incestuous relationship with one of the town’s most prominent residents.
In his attempts to save Mariana, he has to contend not only with the villagers’
moral narrow-mindedness but with his own internal struggle between love for the
girl and the strictures of his faith. In telling this story, Andrade draws
parallels between the townspeople’s blind adherence to social, moral, and
political conventions, and the state of Brazilian society as a whole.
About The Films of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade
collaboration with Kino Lorber, Lightbox presents a retrospective of the work
of Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, one of the most important figures in the Cinema
Novo movement that transformed Brazilian film in the 1960s and ’70s.
Andrade’s oeuvre has been overshadowed to some extent by the success of his
1969 masterpiece, Macunaíma,
yet his career encompassed four additional features, as well as numerous short
films and the hour-long documentary Garrincha:
Hero of the Jungle (1963), all of which are remarkable accomplishments that would
suffice to establish his place in the pantheon of Brazilian filmmakers.
Hailing from a culturally prominent family in Rio de Janeiro, Andrade grew up in close contact with some of the country’s greatest artists, writers, and scholars. Abandoning his university education to pursue filmmaking, he would soon join in the formally and politically audacious Cinema Novo. Like those of his fellow Cinema Novo-associated filmmakers, such as Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Leon Hirszman, Ruy Guerra, and many others, Andrade’s films combined a sophisticated, modernist approach with an uncompromisingly critical, often outrageous, and uniquely Brazilian sensibility that makes his work every bit as vital today as it was when he made it.