Skip to main content


Brazil, 1953 (MIFF 1956, Programme 3)

Director: Limo Barreto

The Bandit is the first Brazilian film to be shown in Australia. In 1953 it was awarded the prize for "films of adventure" at the Cannes Festival, being described as a "tragic-love story, played out in an atmosphere of looting, torture and assassination," thus living up to the traditional impression one has of the Latin-American republics.

Despite this, the film has been described by an eminent critic (C. A. Lejune) as a "rarity, a work of power, beauty and distinction.” The photography is noteworthy and the music has gained special mention for Migliori.

The film opens with a long file of horsemen against the sky. Suddenly, they descend on a village committing wholesale pillage and rapine. Swaggering, scruffy, loving cruelty and a joke, they lord it over the universe.

Their general (one could hardly call him anything else) seizes the school mistress Olivia. With the help of Theodora, she escapes. The two are tracked down finally by Galdino's men. Olivia escapes, but Theodora surrenders and is given, by Galdino, a chance to escape. He has to walk from a tree a thousand yards distant; when he starts walking, the bandits will open fire, each being allowed one bullet. If he escapes he can go free...

The story of The Banditis harsh and there is probably too much reliance on pictorial effects, but the achievement of the film is to take us into the nomad life of these outlaws. The bandits are real, “they and death are familiar,” and even if their three-cornered hats seem theatrical and they tend rather too readily to burst into song, they have nothing in common with the outlaws of musical comedy.

See also...


Federico Fellini was scarcely a new name to the critics when his film La Strada was shown at the Italian Film Festival. Fellini had been active on the creative side of the Italian neo-realist ... More »


Shohei lmamura has been making films in Japan for nearly two decades and it is only further evidence of the West's near complete ignorance of Japanese art and artists that his work has barely raised ... More »


Buster Keaton is essentially the comedian of order, of logic; aloof, deadpan, isolated in his contests with the implacable machine &ndash: a runaway train, in this instance &ndash: he operates with a ... More »


A film dedicated to the "Last of the Mohicans". A surrealistic record of the incomprehensible and rare contrasts of modern life. ... More »

Lines Vertical - Lines Horizontal

Lines in pure design — an attempt by Norman McLaren to create art interesting pattern entirely from straight lines engraved directly on plain black film. ... The effect in is of decorous ballet ... More »


A pathetic little man emerges from a Prussian gaol to be denied lodgings, work and, through lack of papers, a passport. Without personal documents, no work — without work, no documents. This ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director