We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"Behind the Sun" describes a blood feud elevated to the dignity of tragedy. It takes place in a rural area of Brazil, but it could be set instead in the Middle East, in Bosnia, in India, in Africa, in any of those places where people kill each other because of who their parents were. Religion, which is often cited as a justification for these killings, is just a smoke screen for tribalism. The killings spring out of a universal human tendency to dislike anyone who is not like we are.
The movie takes place in 1910. Two families live on either side of a cane field. The Ferreiras are richer, live in a sprawling villa, have an extended family. The Breves family is poorer, humble, hard-working. Since time immemorial there has been a feud between these two families, springing from some long-forgotten disagreement over land. Over time a set of ground rules has grown up: First a Ferreira man (or a Breves man) kills a Breves (or a Ferreira) man, and then the tables are turned.
If it only amounted to that, all the Breves and Ferreiras would be dead, or one side would have won. Certain customs somewhat slow the pace of the killing. When someone has been killed, his blood-stained shirt is left out in the sun to dry, and there is a truce until the red has turned yellow. Despite the predictable timetable that would seem to operate, the next victim is somehow always unprepared, as we see when a young Breves stalks his quarry one night after a shirt has turned yellow.
We meet Pacu, "the Kid" (Ravi Ramos Lacerda), youngest son of the Breves family, who knows that since his adored older brother Tonio (Rodrigo Santoro) has killed a Ferreira, it is only a matter of time until the blood fades and Tonio is killed. While the ominous waiting period continues, a troupe of itinerant circus performers passes through, and the Kid meets the ringmaster and his sultry fire-eating star. They give him a picture book about the sea, which, wouldn't you know, encourages him to dream about a world different from the one he knows.