From the book “Brazilian Cinema” – Edited by Randal Johnson and Robert Stam:
“The Third Bank of the River” is a coproduction (French and Brazilian) and, like the Guerra film, it too ingeniously interweaves diverses stories by its source author. Beginning with the story that provides the title for the film – the virtually wordless drama of a man who abandons his family to live on a boat in the middle of the river – Nelson Pereira dos Santos integrates four other stories. Liojorge (Ilya São Paulo) the son (in Nelson’s re-creation) of the enigmatic boatman of the first story, follows an enchanted cow and thus becomes the protagonist of another story (“Seqüência”) in which the cow leads him to the most beautiful woman in the world (Sonja Saurin).From their romance is born the miracle-working saint Nhinhinha (Bárbara Brandt) from still another story (“A Menina de Lá”). But the family is the persecuted by an evil group of brothers evocative of corrupt policemen or “death squads” – the Dagobó brothers – from yet another story, one of whom desires Nhinhinha. To get rid of him, Liojorge calls the philosopher-assassin (Jofre Soares) from still another story (“Fatalidade”). Feeling threatened, the family fless to Brasília. The postcard vision of the magnificent buildings of the city – concretizations of official modernity – give away to scenes of squalor reminiscent of the favelas of Rio. Apart from mixing different source stories, The Third Bank of the River also mixes distinct styles and motifs from Dos Santo’s own oeuvre.
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