Rachel L. Steen | Lafayette, Louisiana United States | 09/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I came across 'quilombo' after I had read on the internet about the 'palenques' or 'maroons', which were communities made of escaped slaves in Latin America's colonial era. In Brazil, the palenques were known as quilombos, and the most famous to have existed - and featured on the movie -- was that of Palmares in northeastern Brazil. Although the director injects a big dose of magic realism to the movie, it still gives a fairly accurate picture of the times - mid-late 17th century. The hellish conditions endured by slaves brought from western Africa, the Portuguese-Dutch wars, and the human will to break free combined to create the conditions for a slave exodus and a formation of an exile, small republic to form in a remote hillside in the forests. The movie centers around two characters that have long lived in the collective memory of Afro-Brazilians for hundreds of years: Ganga Zumba and Zumbi, the former the spiritual leader of his new found nation, the latter the warrior who would resist fiercely the devastating assault unleashed upon the quilombo and its dwellers by a well-armed expeditionary force made up of portuguese troops, colonial regulars and Sao Paolo mercenaries. 'Quilombo' tells a story of defiance, courage, and the fighting spirit of formerly oppressed peoples who chose to die for their freedom rather than returning alive in chains to hell on earth, namely the sugar plantations of Pernambuco province. Palmares defied the Portuguese empire for almost a century, and represented a threat to the province's plantations because they were often raided and the slaves were freed. For an attempt to publicize this epic era in Brazilian history, Diegues does a good job by putting together historical facts and magic realism. Though I would have loved to see more emphasis on the economic aspects of the quilombo. It is said that 'Palmares' had developed its own business schemes with free-lance merchants and local ranchers as well, creating also not only the threat of slave mutiny but the threat that presented the diversity in crops around the quilombo, which contrasted sharply with the monocultures, thus the economic interests of plantations. All in all, 'Quilombo' is dramatic, thrilling, and beautiful. For those interested on history about maroon communities and slave resistance in the New World I truly encourage to get this movie.
Rachel L. Steen | 05/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being curious about slavery outside of the US, Quilombo seemed to be a good start for me to get a visual sense of what the slaves endured during those times. I am from Ife, Nigeria. The cradle and source of all Yoruba. As I watched Quilombo and saw the language and religion of my people displayed regularly through the depictions of the slaves,I felt a kinship onscreen with the characters and of seeing the fate of my people who were brought over to Brazil in chains, but still used the "source" to garner the strength to chase off their captors. Ogun, Shango, all are references to the dieties in the Yoruba faith. It's obvious that those freed in Brazil did everything to retain their old ways of life, and did so in death. I felt honored to be "introduced" to the fate of my people when they crossed towards the otherside. The movie touched me very personally. A must see...."
Ranks with Sankofa and Roots
Rachel L. Steen | 02/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As profound as the movie Sankofa and as moving as the TV mini-series Roots, this is the most realistic depiction of slavery and the fight against it that I have ever witnessed. Anyone who can claim that it is too dramatic or unrealistic lacks the sensitivity to accept the powerful nature of the enslaved African and their strong religious ties to their Motherland. Antonio Pompeo's use of the imagery of Shango(if you are culturally aware enough to recognize it) made Palmares' new chosen leader even more formidable to the viewer. Those of European descent would benefit greatly from being exposed to a movie that depicts Africans as the true warriors they are. Long gone should be the over emphasized imagery of the happy-go-lucky, grateful to his massa' slave who works hard all day singing in the sun. During the slave raids in Africa, on the slave ships and even in the so-called New World people of African descent have fought against enslavement. There are countless untold stories of slave revolts. My children will be taught not only the evils of slavery but they will also be taught about the heroism of men and women who escaped and did well without any so-called modern culture. This movie belongs in every home library and would do justice to any film class. There arent't enough movies like this."
Brazilian Spartacus Depicted in Dazzling Colors and Music
Gerard D. Launay | Berkeley, California | 09/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on true events, I thought this film was unforgettable. It depicts a charismatic Black leader in 17th century Brazil who persuades the slaves to revolt and move to the uplands to build villages free from contact with the white Portuguese. Another central theme is the contrast between the empty faith of (some of) the missionaries versus the vibrant religion of the tribal peoples. Of course, the idea of resistance to tyranny is depicted in many films; but those things which make "Quilombo" different are the spectacular costumes, paints, music, and dance. The photography of Brazilian landscapes is similarly splendid. Few films are such a treat for the senses. I am delighted that the VHS version was finally converted to a DVD."
Historical movie about an aspect of Brazilian slavery
Gerard D. Launay | 02/28/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is estimated that Brazil imported up to as much as ten times as many slaves as imported by the United States. In Brazil many of these slaves were able to run away and form their own communities known as "quilombos." The only similar phenomenon in the United States that I can think of is the experience of the Seminoles who were a mixture of fleeing Creek Indians and escape black slaves along with other strains. And like the history of the Seminole Wars, it was not an easy matter to defeat the forces of the quilombos. But the destruction of these communities as a threat to the institution of Brazilian slavery was seen as a necessity by the whites. And this destruction was ultimately accomplished with considerable brutality.The movie traces the story of the quilombo known as Palmares in the mountains outside of the town of Recife in northeast Brazil. It is an especially interesting story because it makes such a fascinating contrast with our American stories of slave revolts and escapes. One roots for the black settlement, but always is conscious of the probable fate of that same settlement. Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, Ph.D. in sociology"