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O Tempo e o Vento
  • Composed by Alexandre Guerra
  • Som Livre / 2013 / 57m

A Brazilian film based on Erico Verissimo’s epic book trilogy, O Tempo e o Vento (Time and the Wind) follows two families in the south of that great country from the mid 18th century to the mid 20th.  The striking score comes from a relative newcomer, Alexandre Guerra, and is a real treat.  Things get off to a great start with the unabashedly romantic, old-fashioned “Liberdade a Vento” in which the long-lined main theme is presented.  It’s wonderfully opulent music, the kind that would go with a David Lean film today if any films like that were actually still made.  Choir is introduced in “História de Pedro Índio” before “Ataque À Missão” brings some frantic action.  Then, an ethereal air to the choir ushers in “Aparição do Capitão Rodrigo”, a piece filled with a haunting sadness.  There’s a great change of mood in the upbeat, summery “Ana Terra Variações”, whose warmth is captivating.  A great dramatic flourish follows in “Tema Pedro Misterioso”, so bold and strident.  This is fully orchestral music with its heart on its sleeve; and all that in the first six pieces.

The thematic identity having been carved out, Guerra crafts much of the rest of his score from those building blocks.  It’s gorgeous stuff, a bountiful feast for those of us who remember when so much film music seemed to be like this.  What prevents it from getting quite to the top tier – in modern terms, up there with something like Legends of the Fall or The English Patient, scores whose feel it sometimes echoes – is that, lovely though they are, the themes just don’t quite stick in the memory like the best.  Still, it is so frequently so gorgeous, that is easy to forgive.  Who could possibly resist the guitar-infused feeling of “Um Certo Capitão Rodrigo” or the grandstanding action of “Guerra Farroupilha”?  I rather suspect that this would end up on quite a few people’s “best of the year” lists if they only give it a chance.  It’s worthy of considerable attention – warm, rich, full-bodied.  Who doesn’t love an old-fashioned romantic epic?  This is one of the best of the year.

Rating: **** 1/2

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  1. Craig Richard Lysy (Reply) on Sunday 12 January, 2014 at 22:23

    I could not agree more. I have this in my top five for 2013. I believe it is the best thing Guerra has ever written.

    All the best!