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The Pastor and the Revolutionary

1. PRESENTATION

The Pastor and the Revolutionary is a Brazilian feature film set in the 1960s - after the beginning of the dictatorship in Brazil - and in the last days of 1999, at the turn of the millennium.

In 1968, the young communist João left university and joined a guerrilla war in the Amazon rainforest. He ends up being arrested, tortured, and sent to prison in Brasilia, where he finds Zaqueu, a Christian, arrested by mistake. They suffer together, overcome ideological differences, help each other and arrange a meeting for 26 years later, at midnight, at the turn of the millennium, on top of Brasília's TV Tower.

In 1999, an old army colonel commits suicide and left part of his inheritance to Juliana, a bastard daughter of his relationship with the former employee of his house. Through a book found in his house, she will discover that her deceased father was the torturer of João and Zaqueu in the past and that the meeting scheduled between the two will not happen.

Zaqueu, already old and marked by the past, is in conflict with his son, who wants to build a new church with more mercantilist than Christian purposes.

Fate placed Juliana in this story and the meeting scheduled between João and Zaqueu will not happen in the way it was arranged.

The film is produced by Nilson Rodrigues (Mercado Filmes) and is directed by the award-winning José Eduardo Belmonte.

The filming has as locations the landscapes of the Amazon Forest and the city of Brasília.

2. LONG SYNOPSIS

In 1999, near the turn of the millennium, Fernando, a decadent octogenarian army colonel, kills himself in the garden of his house and leave part of his inheritance to Juliana, his unrecognized daughter fruit of a relationship with a former housemaid.
 
Juliana has never had any contact with her father and lives modestly with her grandmother, but the legacy left by the colonel reopens old wounds between the two and arouses conflicting feelings. She thinks of accepting her father’s inheritance, even if he never took any interest in her, just to help her seriously ill grandmother. She goes against her own beliefs and her boyfriend’s, Diogo, who is also a student and left-wing activist. While meeting with the late colonel’s lawyer at the house where she spent her childhood while her mother worked, Juliana strolls through photographs, memories and sees many books on military strategy and praise for the dictatorship’s achievements in Brazil. But one particular book called “Memoirs of a Guerrilla Soldier” catches her eye, and she decides to take it with her.

Juliana’s reading reveals the story of former guerrilla soldier João, a student who left the same university she studied to go underground in 1968 and join a guerrilla in the north of Brazil accompanied by his girlfriend Marta.
 
In a flashback, we see that João survived after being chased by the military government, spent thirty days lost and alone in the middle of the Amazon jungle, sick with malaria, enduring endless rain, running from wild animals, and seeing death at close range.  Weak and losing his mind, he is able to reach the margin of the great Araguaia River; he passes out on a large beach of white sand. After being saved by local workers, he’s found by the government’s troops and arrested. Tied up, tortured, and exposed in the public square next to the military camp set up in the small settlement, João is forced to recognize the bodies of dead guerrilla soldiers, including his partner Marta, before being sent to prison in Brasília. The image of Marta shot and lifeless completes the tragedy of his imprisonment and determines the end of his fight in the guerrilla war.  

Shocked by reading the story, Juliana recognizes her father in one of the book’s photos that show the military men who fought in the guerrilla. Her father, Colonel Fernando, was responsible for João’s arrest and torture. She also learns that in jail João shared his cell with another young man, Zaqueu, a black evangelical Christian who was arrested by mistake.  In jail, among torture, suffering, distrust, and fear, the dogmatic differences between the communist and the religious man cease to matter; solidarity, empathy, and love prevail in their coexistence.

On New Year’s Eve in 1973, after a torture session, listening to the fireworks and the celebrations coming from outside, João, convinced that Zaqueu will soon leave prison, asks him to send an anonymous letter to his brother, informing his whereabouts. The two promise each other that they will survive and arrange a meeting for 26 years later, at midnight, at the turn of the millennium, at the top of Brasília’s TV tower. Zaqueu says he will be there with a bible under his arm to be recognized. Zaqueu keeps his promise, sends the letter, and saves João’s life.

In 1999, Zaqueu was sixty years old and an evangelical pastor on the outskirts of Brasília. He carries his time in prison as a secret. He’s now in conflict with his eldest son, who intends to form a new church with more mercantilist and less religious goals. Juliana finishes the book and finds that the meeting between the communist and the Christian will not occur. In the afterword, there is a note from the editor reporting João’s death in a car accident in 1990, shortly before the book’s publication. The inheritance dilemma, the discovery that her father had been a torturer, her boyfriend’s misunderstandings, her grandmother’s illness, and her doubts as to whether her conception was the result of rape, turn Juliana’s life into a whirlwind of emotions and doubts. She sees herself as part of this story.

Pressured by fate and by the awareness that the meeting between her father’s victims is impossible, she decides to pursue the guerilla soldier’s story.  After all, is someone going to the scheduled meeting to represent João? Is Zaqueu alive and going to the meeting? Among strong emotions and discoveries, difficult decisions, and many doubts, Juliana will play a key role in the story that began thirty years ago and that, somehow, involved her. The meeting set by two men of faith, a Christian and a communist, 26 years ago during a dramatic moment in the country’s history, will not happen as planned. Juliana, feeling heirs to this story, sets out to meet the old pastor.

3. DIRECTOR’S VISION

"The Pastor and the Revolutionary" is a drama about the meeting of two people who, even with antagonistic visions, discover the possibilities of coexistence. The film, which takes place at the end of the 20th century and addresses the country’s history in recent decades, highlights the importance of unity and tolerance. The differences between the protagonists do not prevent them from exercising community life. The most efficient narrative of this apparently contradictory condition must incorporate content into form. Gather the opposites. Integrate dissonant elements. Thus, very long shots amend with close takes. Impact scenes have a minimalist track; intimate moments are framed by the intensity of pop music. The device is repeated, fluently and noiseless, in the election of colors and scenarios, also in the dynamics of the cuts. Epic meets intimacy. And poetic realism prevails in performances and decoupage.

4. PRODUCER’S VISION

"The Pastor and the Revolutionary" is a historical drama inspired by real events that will show the great changes that occurred between the sixties and the turn of the millennium. From the communist dream in the midst of the dictatorship emerges the story of a pastor and a guerrilla soldier, which is reflected many years later in a world almost without utopia.  Amid a reality that has left the dictatorship in the past, the young evangelical became a minister, discovered that some men keep commitments and that fate can alter what was planned. Brazil changed a lot between the 1960s and the year 2000. Throughout this period, the film will show the military dictatorship as a backdrop, the cultural changes in the country, the end of the communist utopia, and the growth of the evangelical segment. The film aims to dialogue with viewers from around the world, telling a story that is both Brazilian and universal, a story about two men of faith: a communist and a Christian who are in the most difficult moments of their lives. A current, contemporary, and necessary film, at a time when Latin America is again flirting with the extreme right and authoritarian regimes. A film suited for festivals and for international markets.

5. DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

"A particular history is enriched enormously and necessarily when it is set against the backdrop of a major historical event." (Tolstói)

Understanding the crisis, in the broadest sense of the word, that took place in Brazil was one of the reasons that made me want to tell the story of "O Pastor e o Guerrilheiro" (The Pastor and the Revolutionary).

When did our contradictions become irreconcilable and the cliff was wide open?

The fact that it was a real story seemed to me even more interesting to address issues in transformation at the end of the last century: the eagerness to include a new middle class for entrepreneurship, the conflict between another leftist thought, different from the 1960s, more pragmatic and more focused on other themes, the dilemmas of how to deal with the cursed legacies of the Brazilian reality (slavery, various dictatorships, the abyss between social classes) the change from the secular Protestant religion to a new type, more cathartic and theatricalized.

The cast includes the new generation of national cinema (Johnny Massaro, Julia Dalavia, César Melo, Ana Hartmann, William Costa) and renowned actors and actresses from television, cinema and theater (Cássia Kis, Antônio Grassi, Sérgio Mamberti, Buda Lira, Ricardo Gelli).

6. CAST

The cast includes the new generation of national cinema (Johnny Massaro, Julia Dalavia, César Mello, Ana Hartmann, William Costa) and renowned actors and actresses from television, cinema and theater (Cássia Kis, Antônio Grassi, Sérgio Mamberti, Buda Lira, Ricardo Gelli).

"The Pastor and the Revolutionary" has Caetano Curi as executive producer, photography direction by Bárbara Alvarez, art direction by Ana Paula Cardoso, production direction by Larissa Rolin, music by Sascha Kratzer and costumes by Diana Brandão.

Johnny Massaro

JOHNNY MASSARO

"O FILME DA MINHA VIDA" by Selton Melo (Durban International Film Festival)

Antonio Grassi

ANTONIO GRASSI

"CARANDIRU" by Hector Babenco (Cannes Film Festival, Havana Film Festival)

Cássia Kis

CÁSSIA KIS

Walter Salles's "A GRANDE ARTE" and Laís Bodansky's "BICHO DE SETE CABEÇAS" (Locarno Festival and Trieste Festival)

Anna Hartmann

ANNA HARTMANN

"O HOMEM DA CABEÇA LARANJA" by Elvis Delbagno

Julia Dalavia

JULIA DALAVIA

"ATÉ QUE A SORTE NOS SEPARE", trilogy by Roberto Santucci

César Mello

CÉSAR MELLO

"LIVING THE LIFE" (2009/2010) and "SIDE BY SIDE" (2012) novels

Buda Lira

BUDA LIRA

"AQUARIUS" and "BACURAU" (Cannes Film Festival) by Kleber Mendonça Filho

Ricardo Gelli

RICARDO GELLI

"10 SEGUNDOS PARA VENCER" by José Alvarenga Júnior

Bárbara Alvarez

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

BÁRBARA ALVAREZ

"WHISKY" by Pablo Stoll and Juan Pablo Rebella (Cannes Film Festival, Chicago Film Festival) and "QUE HORAS ELA VOLTA" by Anna Muylaert (Berlin Festival)

Ana Paula Cardoso

ART DIRECTOR

ANA PAULA CARDOSO

"CASA GRANDE" and "GABRIEL E A MONTANHA" by Fellipe Barbosa (International Critics’ Week)

Sascha Kratzer

MUSIC COMPOSER

SASCHA KRATZER

"O ÚLTIMO CINE DRIVE-IN" (Rio Festival and Netfix Award) and "HOMEM CORDIAL" (Gramado Film Festival)