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THE PROPHET HUNGER

Brazil, 1971 (MIFF 1972)

Director: Maurice Capovilla

Prophet of Hunger is about contradictions—in this case that of a man who endures hunger in order to earn money for food.

The film is based on the life of Siki, the fakir who attempted to surpass the world's record for fasting while on show In a glass case. The entire story is taken from real events which director Maurice Capovilla mingles in absurdist form in order to give reality an added force.

The first section of the film shows life in an impoverished circus, where only the animals get enough to eat, and the starving performers fight the animals in their cages for their meat rations.

When the circus burns down, Alikhan the fakir and his wife wander off in search of work and food. Their journeys take them to a town where a religious festival is taking place, and, hoping for alms, Alikhan has himself crucified. The people hail him as a new prophet. Then he discovers that hunger can be profitable, and undertakes a national campaign to explain how easy it is to endure it.

Principally a farce, the film's grotesque element functions effectively to depict an absurd reality.

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