-o Último Cangaceiro-



Long Synopsis



Michael and Maria have a troubled relationship. As they talk in the evening, they seem detached from each other. Mike is still traumatised after losing his home during the East-London Olympic regeneration. He travels to Italy after being invited by a friend, Enrico. He hopes to help him with a project about mega events which have arrived to Brazil and drive people out of their homes, their neighbourhoods and their familiar environments. Just like what happened to him after the demolition of the building where he was living in Clay’s Lane, London. Michael flies to Italy to join Enrico, leaving Maria behind.


The film opens with images from the vast ocean with oil platforms. Enrico shares with Michael his metaphorical view: Brazil as Cyprus, a land to be conquered, that will decide the winner of the war.


On the screen, they meet the losing team: Diana and Draci Ribeiro, a couple living in a favela at the far end of São Paulo. Proud of their roots, they don’t want to leave their home for an undetermined place, due to the construction of the Arena Corinthians. Over the images of the red desert of urban loneliness where the stadium is being built, Michael makes his first try as a voice-over person, to tell us about the concept of home, and how he doesn’t have one.


In Brazil, people are in turmoil against the World Cup. Luíz, wearing a red nose, says “this progress is just for the English to see, and the people suffer”. During Rio’s assembly, Inalva Mendes Brito presents her popular committee, offering alternative projects for the Games. These projects are, nevertheless, not taken into consideration. Inalva questions the government’s priorities and issues the controversial involvement of private property developers.


Walking through the woods somewhere in Italy, Enrico presents to Mike the Cangaceiro's idea: Cangaceiros used to be Brazilian bandits from Sertão northern region, who fought against state officials. On the screen we meet Ash, a native Pesquisador da Cosmologia da floresta, inside the occupied Indigenous University of Rio, a historical building destined to become the main info-point of the Olympic Games. He tells us about the police attitude towards them: violence and racism.


Enrico takes Mike to an underground tunnel. Mike is doubtful of a lot of things, a little desperate and afraid of the dark place Enrico brought him into. He thinks he sees a cowboy, a Brazilian cowboy. Reaching the central chamber they are able to breathe and to release their voice in a chant about the “Murderer of the Cangaceiro”.


Without any notice and alone, Maria arrives searching for Mike. They have a conversation, but Michael is disconnected and unable to hear her properly.


Mike returns to the studio, where Paulo Thiago de Mello gives a sociological view on the problem. He poses the question: “Who has the right to the city?”. While they’re in studio, Maria goes out. Enrico and Michael fall asleep while watching slide films. In his sleep, Michael sees Maria, dancing alone in an empty club. He rushes out to look for her, walking alone through the city.


Finally, Michael fully becomes the voiceover person: he becomes a Cangaceiro who fights the oppressors, “the white man, whatever colour he might be”. We will never know if Mike’s journey is a dream or reality, as he says: “Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you my dream. At least, I think it is a dream”. In a breach of his dream, we visit the Indigenous University, where the fight goes on.


Freed from his former self, the last Cangaceiro arrives in an island in the Delta of river Po:  the island of the pirates. Entering a bar, he sees a family, a happy family. On the TV, a match of the World Cup is being screened. The Cangaceiro is ready to fight, but because of that he had to leave everything behind.


The path that Mike completes is a symbiotic metamorphosis, a transcendence into the pirate of Sertão, defender of the peoples: the Last Cangaceiro a Robin Hood of our times. Mike’s own trauma becomes an allegory for the social conflict overcoming Brazil.



By Joao Pedro Amorim – Assistant Director on Lepanto – O Ultimo Cangaceiro


Berlin, February 2015