Behind the Sun (film)

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Behind the Sun
Original film poster
Directed by Walter Salles
Produced by Arthur Cohn
Written by Karim Aïnouz
Sérgio Machado
Walter Salles
João Moreira Salles
Daniela Thomas
Based on Broken April
by Ismail Kadare
Starring Rodrigo Santoro
José Dumont
Rita Assemany
Music by Ed Cortês
Antonio Pinto
Beto Villares
Edited by Isabelle Rathery
Distributed by Buena Vista International
Release date
  • September 6, 2001 (2001-09-06) (Venice)
  • May 1, 2002 (2002-05-01) (Brazil)
Running time
105 minutes
Country Brazil
Language Portuguese
Budget $4 million
Box office R$2.063.956[1] ($928,037)

Behind the Sun (Portuguese: Abril Despedaçado) is a 2001 Brazilian film directed by Walter Salles, produced by Arthur Cohn, and starring Rodrigo Santoro. Its original Portuguese title means Shattered April, and it is based on the novel of the same name written by the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, about the honor culture in the North of Albania.

Co-produced by Brazil, France, and Switzerland,[2][3] it was shot entirely in Bahia, taking place in Bom Sossego, a district of the city of Oliveira dos Brejinhos, and in the cities of Caetité and Rio de Contas.[4]


The year is 1910; the place, the badlands of Northeast Brazil. Twenty-year-old Tonho is the middle son of an impoverished farm family, the Breves. He is next in line to kill and then die in an ongoing blood feud with a neighboring clan, the Ferreiras. For generations, the two families have quarreled over land. Now they are locked into a series of tit-for-tat assassinations of their sons; an eye-for-an-eye, a tooth-for-a-tooth. Embedded in this choreography of death is a particular code of ethics: "Blood has the same volume for everyone. You have no right to take more blood than was taken from you." Life is suffused with a sense of futility and stoic despair.

Under pressure from his father, Tonho kills one of the Ferreira sons to avenge the murder of his older brother. This act marks him as the next victim. Tonho's younger brother is addressed only as "the Kid" by the family. Anticipating future loss, his parents don't give him a name. The Kid is an imaginative and loving child, whose spirit will not break in the face of harsh parenting, brutalizing isolation, and numbing poverty. The Kid's love encourages Tonho to question his fate. When Tonho meets Clara, a charming itinerant circus girl, all of life's possibilities open up for him.

The film is narrated by "The Kid" who is later given a name by Clara and her stepfather, the traveling circus performers. They call him "Pacu" and he spends the whole film narrating which ultimately drives the viewers to identify and allows the film to humanize the characters.

Later, Pacu and Tonho visit the circus in town, with Tonho forming a relationship with Clara. Clara later leaves her stepfather to be with Tonho, arriving at the farm to be with him. The two sleep together before she departs, telling Tonho to meet her in the east by the ocean. One of the Ferreira men come to the farm in order to exact revenge on the Breves, initially appearing to kill Tonho. However, it is revealed that they actually shot and killed Pacu, devastating the Breves.

The father tells Tonho to get the gun in order to kill all of the remaining Ferreiras in retaliation. Tonho, realizing that his life with his family is destroyed, walks off without a word. His father attempts to shoot him for disregarding the honor of their family, but he is stopped by the mother who insists that the feud no longer matters and that it's over. Tonho arrives on a beach, staring at the sea with an expression of melancholic wonder on his face.


Awards and nominations[edit]

BAFTA Film Awards

Golden Globe Awards

Havana Film Festival

  • Best Director – Walter Salles (won)
  • House of the Americas Award – Walter Salles (won)

Venice Film Festival

  • Little Golden Lion – Arthur Cohn and Walter Salles (won)
  • Golden Lion – Walter Salles (nominated)


  1. ^ "Filmes Brasileiros Lançados - 1995 a 2012" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ancine. p. 29. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Abril Despedaçado" (in Italian). Venice Biennale. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Abril Despedaçado" (in Portuguese). Cinemateca Brasileira. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ Arantes, Silvana (September 7, 2001). ""Abril Despedaçado" encanta mercado". Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Grupo Folha. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]