"Nothing is born, nothing lives, nothing dies without a reason... Thus exists this film." Denied his Zé do Caixão persona, José Mojica Marins tries the Messiah’s sultan robes, though not before rising suitably bare-assed out of the sea. Brazil after the military junta is his backwater Jerusalem, doctors fuck nurses while patients bleed in the waiting room, the stoning of the adulteress takes place outside a nightclub. Marins’ silent prophet wanders into a cathedral when he’s curious and drinks from the Communion chalice when he’s thirsty, his very presence is enough to foil a rape or raise an invalid from a wheelchair. All of this is scored to a kazoo rendition of "Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head," naturally. In this all-pervasive satire, the tin savior is a fugitive, a Little Tramp, a pasha. The country’s overbearing macho culture is a weak-hearted cuckold badly resurrected in his coffin (the wife needs to be sodomized in order to fake tears), while the counterculture is nothing but a DayGlo lightshow ("What is truth if not money," a fistful of few coins is all it takes to dissolve the Age of Aquarius). A pox on both your houses, says Marins’ sham Candide, who’s busy duping the devout on TV. "I tried atheism for a while, but my faith just wasn’t strong enough." Zabriskie Point comes in for a closing jest, Medak’s The Ruling Class and Downey's Greaser's Palace pick up the droll-lacerating thread the following year, follow it and you arrive at the Church of Christ Without Christ in Huston’s Wise Blood. With Teresa Sodré, Roque Rodrigues, Rosangela Maldonado, and Angela Bryan.
--- Fernando F. Croce