Older moviegoers will remember the dazzle — feigned or real — that met Glauber Rocha’s 1974 feature film God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun, a strange movie set in the northeast of Brazil. The TV series Cangaço Novo, created by Eduardo Melo and Mariana Bardan, takes place in the same desolate landscape — the inland state of Ceará — although the series does not have the pretensions of auteur cinema that characterized Rocha’s work.
It is an eight-episode series on Prime Video, which is only interested in justifying and redeeming the show based on how many people watch it. Cangaço Novo — translated as New Bandits —tells the story of Ubaldo, a discreet and silent bank employee from São Paulo who receives an inheritance in the small town of his forgotten childhood. In this town, he reunites with his two sisters. One of them, a woman named Dinorah, leads a dangerous and violent gang of bank robbers. He is also taken back to a seemingly universal and everyday situation, where corrupt and greedy politicians subjugate and humiliate an impoverished people.
It won’t take long for Ubaldo to assimilate to the reality of the town and join the gang of robbers, using his knowledge of the day-to-day of the banking world. The trigger-happy gang acts ruthlessly. The violence connects with a merciless landscape. These are bad times for poetry, although there is always a place for love and desire, of course. In short, Cangaço Novo is an entertaining series that takes place in a Brazil far removed from the stereotypes of palm-tree lined Rio de Janeiro. Here, in this land of the sun, there are more devils than gods.
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