Ruy Guerra – Os Cafajestes aka The Unscrupulous Ones (1962)



A Brazilian masterpiece, fascinating, powerful and still contemporary, waiting to be (re)discovered by the world, 12 October 2006

The first thing you’ll remark when you see “Os Cafajestes” today (if you are lucky enough to find a copy of it) is how surprisingly modern, daring and mesmerizing it still is. The existential drama of 4 characters — two men (low-life scum Jandir, small-time playboy Vavá) and two women (used up Leda, provocative Vilma), who indulge in dangerous, deceitful games that include sex, photos, cars, beaches, drugs and blackmail — is amazingly contemporary in its visual style, boldness and acid criticism of amorality and egotism. That, combined with the virtuoso camera-work by Tony Rabatoni, the blazing summer whiteness of Cabo Frio beaches and dunes, the surprising turns in the plot, the edgy dialog and the non-linear treatment of sound vs image make this an unforgettable film, one of the most impressive directing debuts in the history of cinema (that’s not an overstatement), regrettably little known outside Brazil. Continue reading