Loosely based on a true story, this bittersweet comedy is an engaging and fascinating tale of life just beyond the edge of society. In remote northeastern Brazil, the feisty young Darlene (Casé) already has one son when she decides to marry the much older Osias (Duarte), mostly for legitimacy. But legitimacy is just about all Osias offers her, lying in his hammock all day while she goes to work in the fields then cooks, cleans and does everything for him. So it’s not terribly surprising when her next son looks suspiciously like a wandering black cowboy (Lopez) … or that Darlene finds herself attracted to Osias’ cousin Zezinho (Garcia), about the same age as Osias but much more nurturing and domestic. Soon she, Osias and Zezinho have set up home, and her third son is obviously Zezinho’s. Then a handsome young wanderer (Vasconcelos) enters the household….
Intriguingly, the film never judges its characters by society’s standards. They live beyond the end of the world–a hard life with very little joy or hope in a bleak, empty landscape. And as they search for happiness and build their life together, the film finds earthy rhythms in the warm and often funny situations. The expressive faces of the cast members convey the relationships just as much as the dialog, especially when sadness or jealousy invade their life. Casé is especially good as the eye of the story’s proverbial hurricane–she knows she’s made a hash of her life, but is trying to make it work anyway. Waddington fills the film with warm colours, insightful editing, moody music, all of which create an atmosphere that draws us in despite its filth and foreignness. And the film has a surprisingly effective message underneath it all about the things we need in relationships–stability, care, passion.