Skip to main content


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.

See also...


In sixteenth century Brazil, a Frenchman is caught by a cannibalistic tribe of Indians. When he demonstrates his skill with firearms, they decide to spare his life so that he can train them in the ... More »

The Incredible Mister Blois

A film about the sculptor and miniature-painter, Oscar Blois, remarkable not only for his artistic creations, but also for his contact with extraterrestrial beings who teach him trinogy - a ... More »

A Resistencia da Lua

A poetic film which illustrates aspects of black culture which in Salvador, Bahia, had a remarkable impact on the arts and culture in the region. Although destroyed by many years of white domination ... More »


A man returns to his childhood — to the day Brazil lost the 1950 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. Can he re-write his country's destiny? Can he save Barbosa the goalkeeper from 'becoming the man ... More »

To Wait

An experimental narrative inspired by Roland Barthes Fragments d'un Discours Amoreux. Andre has a date with Silvia, the girl he loves. He arrives punctually at the bar chosen for the rendezvous and ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director