**½/**** Image A Sound A Extras B-
starring Felipe Abib, Antonio Calloni, César Troncoso, Marcos Paulo
screenplay by Marcos Bernstein and Victor Atherino
directed by René Sampaio
by Jefferson Robbins If a few things fall too neatly into place in René Sampaio's Brazilian Western--like beautiful Maria Lúcia (Isis Valverde) jumping into bed with fugitive João (Fabrício Boliveira), who just held her at gunpoint in her own bedroom--well, it's a fable. That's meant literally, since the film is adapted from a megahit ballad of roughly the same name: Legāio Urbana's nine-minute barn-burner of calamity, bloodshed, love, and redemption spoke to something in the Brazilian psyche in 1987, charting João de Santo Christo's fatal misadventures with the corrupt forces that kept a boot on the underclass. Sampaio's adaptation has a lot to live up to in that respect, as well as in honouring the western genre to which the title nods. It winds up a Leone-ian Scarface of sorts, although the stakes are different--pot instead of coke, infatuation rather than the will to power, with imbalances of class and race at the forefront.