Burn! — Story and Screenplay

Burn!  —  Story and Screenplay
Queimada
Autor: Franco Solinas, Giorgio Arlorio, Gillo Pontecorvo

Sinopse – Burn! — Story and Screenplay – Queimada

QUEIMADA (Burn!/1969) — "Nothing is ever completely destroyed by fire. Something always remains. A blade of grass… A tiny insect… An idea." — A Caribbean Island [great similarity to Bahia in Brazil] in the mid-1800’s. Nature has made it a paradise; man has made it a hell. Slaves on vast Portuguese sugar plantations are ready to turn their misery into rebellion – and the British are ready to provide the spark. They send agent Sir William Walker (Marlon Brando) on a devious three-part mission: trick the slaves into revolt, grab the sugar trade for England…then return the slaves to servitude. |…| The story, co-written by Pontecorvo, his reliable scribe Franco Solinas, and Giorgio Arlorio, is inspired by a factual 1520 incident, when the Spanish army razed a Caribbean island in order to quell a native uprising. The island became known as Quemada (Spanish word for burnt). Replacing the exterminated population with a colony of slaves, the Spaniards set up the island as a sugar-cane industry, with proceeds sent to Spain for the next three centuries.
Gillo Pontecorvo, the acclaimed director of The Battle of Algiers (which received a 1967 Oscar nomination as the best foreign film), explores colonialism and insurrection in the searing epic Burn! Brando’s interpretation of William Walker is reminiscent of his role of Fletcher Christian in "Mutiny of the Bounty" (1962), playing another English gentleman, whose gentle speech and soft manners mask iron will and tough intent. As perceived by Brando, Walker is not a villain but a pragmatist with a tough task to accomplish. This differs from Pontecorvo, who sees him as the evil catalyst of the story. Brando wanted to give him a lighter, bemused manner and a darker, outrageous humor. |…| Ennio Morricone’s (The Untouchables, The Mission) haunting music memorably underscores the almost overwhelmingly powerful story. |…| Gillo Pontecorvo’s extraordinary 1969 film tells the story of William Walker (Marlon Brando), a kind of agent provocateur sent to a fictitious Caribbean island to instigate a slave revolt and gain control of the island’s sugar. He trains a black leader, Jose Dolores (Evaristo Marquez), who fights against the Portuguese and the British to achieve freedom for the slaves. Walker leaves and must return ten years later to help destroy the very thing he created. |…| A blatantly political film, Burn displays Marxist ideology in its anti-colonial struggle. Made in the late 1960s, during the Vietnam War, parallels between the two situations were drawn by critics and viewers, even it if British, not Americans, were the villains of the piece. |…| Of course, it’s far more complicated than that, and Pontecorvo is acutely aware of the modern-day political parallels with his story, especially that of Vietnam. Pontecorvo (The Battle of Algiers, The Wide Blue Road) crafts a huge, colorful epic more tuned in to specific time and place than a Hollywood film might be. Everything feels up close and immediate, and Brando ties everything together with his clever performance. He mixes just the right amount of compassion and distance for Walker to do his job effectively.
As with Visconti’s The Leopard — which also had an American star — Burn! was cut for its English language release, and the longer, much better Italian version, also known as Queimada, is considered the definitive cut. |…| [Wikipedia] Queimada (em inglкs Burn!) é um filme italiano de 1969 do gкnero aventura histуrica mas com um estilo que o deixa aquém do rigor factual e o aproxima da crítica política. O filme é dirigido por Gillo Pontecorvo, também diretor de A Batalha de Argel. Rodado em inglкs e italiano, também foi lançado com dublagem em portuguкs. A ação decorre num ilha ficcional nas Caraíbas, que pertenceria a Portugal. O enredo é baseado, parcialmente, na histуria do Haiti. O guião original referia-se a uma ilha espanhola, e isso pode ser comprovado pelo fato de grande parte dos personagens manterem os seus nomes espanhуis, como José Dolores em vez do correto José das Dores. Existiu na vida real um soldado estadunidense chamado William Walker, que no período de 1856-1857 chegou a ser presidente da Nicarágua (financiado pelo magnata Cornelius Vanderbilt). Devido as afinidades ideolуgicas do diretor com a Esquerda o filme Queimada é um retrato bastante claro de como é possivel produzir um "líder popular nato" e conduzir os seus intimos impulsos para o bem comum do povo na direção dos interesses de um poder estrangeiro qualquer…

Burn! — Story and Screenplay – Queimada

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