A Film by Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas Tired of living in squalor, an aspiring Brazilian actor accepts a "delivery job" from a shady antique dealer and travels to Lisbon carrying a violin filled with uncut diamonds. ... more »When the exchange goes bad, he finds himself on the run from an underworld thug and in the arms of a beautiful woman caught up in a Portuguese black-market.« less
"FOREIGN LAND / Brazil-Portugal 1995
13 December 2003 The best part of this film is how much it surprises. It's a B&W film from Brazil and deflates expectation as it starts out almost like a student film - slow, awkward and seemingly uninteresting, with so much of gritty grain that it is initially annoying. Yet the change of pace and the transition into a gripping tale of innocence, love and adventure is so seamless, that only in the end do we realize what sheer cinematic delight we have been privy to.
* Mise-en-scene: Even though it was made in 1995, this film belongs to the highest traditions of 50s Film Noir. Though reminiscent of Welles' Touch of Evil in its narrative style, you've probably never seen a grittier tale, and feel for the characters and their innocence as the plot thickens and the feeling of foreboding grips you.
* The fact that the lead pair comprises unknown faces works for the film, and makes it believable. After all, the feeling of alienation and desperation is easier to ascribe to, to a nobody who has no-where to go.
* Foreign Land communicates a deep underlying political message to Brazilians who were migrating to Europe in the 1980s and the film does a successful job of portraying life outside of Brazil as mean-spirited and dangerous.
* The character development of the boy from struggling artist to bold young man is thoroughly convincing as is the unlikely romance between two desperate people in a strange land. I particularly enjoyed the change in pace of the narrative where it midway meanders off the beaten track and becomes a road-film.
* Cinematography: In the final analysis, the low-brow high chiaroscuro grainy photography works for the film and successfully builds a dark mood that establishes the feeling of evil lurking just around the corner in a foreign land.
* Sound design is effective in creating a nostalgic mood which begs us to ask the protagonists what on earth they are doing in a foreign land when they could have been safely tucked away in beloved Brazil.
I highly recommend this film to any lover of international cinema and particularly to those who feel inspired by gritty, small-time, content driven films with a powerful vision, that dare to challenge the goliaths of our filmmaking factories."
A work of art
Santý | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | 07/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Foreign land" is a film that has made my mind in my late teenage years. The story is alright, but it impresses for the image and sound composition. First, the photography of Walter Carvalho, black&white, Bresson-style. Then, the music, "vapor barato", an anthem of the seventies in Brazil (and the song was not in the film, it became part of it when the director asked Torres - the character Alex - which song she considered important in her life. She was hearing Vapor Barato in her walkman). It's a moody film, and tells much more about the life of the characters (foreigners/expatried), who search for something beyond, than about politics. It's about people, not countries."
Santý | 03/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best movies in the Brazilian history. It shows the human impact of the Brazilian financial instability in the early 1990s in the every day life of the population using the example of one single individual who get involved with traffic to keep his simple dreams possible."
Good plot, excellent direction and great songs....
M. B. Alcat | Los Angeles, California | 04/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes, movies that are not overly well-known and that you happen to watch just by chance give you a good surprise. "Foreign land" (= "Terra estrangeira"), a Brazilian film in black and white directed by Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas, is one of those movies.
The plot is simple: Paco (Fernando Alves Pinto), a young Brazilian man that dreams of becoming an actor, wants to travel to Spain. He has no money, so he ends up smuggling goods for Igor (Luis Melo) in order to pay his ticket to Spain. Strangely enough, Paco will end up in Portugal, where he will meet another Brazilian, an attractive and very troubled woman named Alex (Fernanda Torres). Both are in a foreign land, Portugal, and that is true not only literally (they are in a different country), but metaphorically as well, as they cannot help but feel like outsiders. Unfortunately for Paco, Alex has plans of her own that will put them in danger.
What happens, and why? Well, you will have to watch "Foreign land" :) Suffice it to say that I really like it, and that I was quite impressed by how well it is filmed, and by the almost haunting beauty of some of its scenes. Of course, I also loved the beautiful songs in Portuguese included in the movie, and I think you are likely to like them too. All in all, highly recommended!
Pablo | Los Angeles, Ca United States | 02/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is spectacular. The plot and theme take us from the economic and political realities of Brazil into Europe, which is one of the forefathers of middle-class. This symbolic return helps us discover what to be Brazilian is. Obviously, the film is much more nuanced. And for those Brazilians (and non-Europeans) who have lived in Europe the comprehension and enjoyment is unique.The direction, art and sound are beautiful and enticing, which is to be expected of Salles jr., who well knows how to use scenes and actors on the big screen. Particularly, his landscape shots are breathtaking. Like in Behind the sun they are simple, expressive but not manipulative of the viewer. Last but not least, the ending song an emotional catharsis, which is symbolicaly and artistically pertinent. Just the director's later film Central Station it is an integral part of the film. if you haven't seen this yet, then you know what to buy/rent next!"