Black God, White Devil (1964)

28 October 2023, 08:00 PM







Glauber Rocha



120 minutes

Portuguese with English subtitles

M18 (Mature Theme and Some Religious Content)


Nominee – Palme d’Or (Cannes Film Festival 1964)

Main Summary

In Black God, White Devil, Glauber Rocha follows a destitute peasant couple fleeing oppressive working conditions, immersing viewers in the raw veracity of their plight. Amid the economic prosperity of 1960s Brazil, the film delves deeply into the country’s sociopolitical reality and stands as a stark embodiment of deprivation.   

Drawing inspiration from Brazilian cantadores — folk songs, minstrels, and poetry — the film adopts a unique narrative style. This fusion of folklore and music transports audiences to the heart of the country — unfiltered, unadulterated, untouched. The percussive beats of drums and tambourines, and the chanting tones of the people form a synchronic voice of resistance, rekindling the spirit of revolution stifled by the country’s newly-installed military dictatorship. 

Released shortly after the 1964 coup d’état, Black God, White Devil emerges as a potent anti-establishment statement. Rocha employs non-professional actors, on-location shoots, and deliberately amateur footage, hallmark elements of the groundbreaking Cinema Novo movement, to amplify a sense of authenticity. This cinematic landmark not only contests the colonial grip on Brazil’s film landscape but also unapologetically pursues truth and artistic innovation, acting as a powerful agent of renewal.