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Peasant Autonomy
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Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil – 1942

On the run


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Bart van Dorp)

Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil.

It is hot, very hot, and dry. Even the river has dried up. It is almost a desert here; everywhere you see cacti and thorn bushes. The road is bumpy, dusty and full of loose stones. Johann is driving his truck. On the sides it is painted: 'Aspirinas: O Fim de Todos os Males' ('Aspirins will remove all your ailments'). In every village he stops and builds a tent, and in the evening he shows a movie about Rio de Janeiro: huge blocks of apartment buildings, luxury cars, and Carnival. Next, advertisements for aspirin. The newest cure-all against cold, flu, headache, hangover, lovesickness, and whatever causes you pain. After the screening he sells many tins of aspirin. The next morning he continues traveling.


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: guilherme jofili)

Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil.

On the road, he picks up poor peasants who ask for a ride: a man with a big rifle, who gets out quickly because he sees an animal that he likes to shoot; an older woman with a chicken; a beautiful by sad young woman; and a gruff young man.

– 'What do you sell?' asks the young man.
– 'Medicines, aspirin, it helps with all sorts of diseases.'
– 'Really? When it helps against hunger, you will become rich here.'


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: guilherme jofili)

Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil.

The man is called Ranulpho. When he opens his mouth, a negative remark falls out of it.
– 'Are you always like that?' asks Johann.
– 'What do you mean?'
– 'So bitter.'
– 'You know, I come from such a hole: five houses and a big cross in the middle. Nobody on the streets. Nothing is happening there. Nothing at all.'
– 'Well.'
– 'One day, I knew what to do: today I leave! And I left, going to Rio de Janeiro, or something.'
– 'When you don't find a job or a place to stay?'
– 'I will manage. No matter what, I will not go back. They laugh at you, when you come back. The bloody bastards. And you?'
– 'Me?'
– 'Yes. Where are you coming from?'
– 'From Germany, Europe. It is war there. I don't want to become a soldier, I don't want to die. At least there is no war here, you don't get bombs dropped on your head.'
– 'No, there is nothing at all here, not even war.'

Ranulpho and Johann, two young men on the run.

_______________________

Source
The movie Cinema, Aspirinas e Urubus (2005) of the Brazilian filmmaker Marcelo Gomes calmly shows the arid, red-hot rural areas of Northeast Brazil.



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