Film Essay Assignment: “Four Days in September”
The film “Four Days in September” is a movie based on the book of Rio de Janiero journalist, Fernando Gabeira, “O Que E Isso, Companheiro?” It is about a group of young middle-class Brazilian revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the brutal military dictatorship of Brazil in 1969. Gabeira joins this young terrorist group, known as the MR8. Their initial move is the robbery of a bank. Although the heist was a success, one of their members, Cesar was captured. Since they did not gain much media mileage from the robbery, the group decides to kidnap the United States Ambassador to Brazil Charles Burke Elbrick and demand the release of 15 political prisoners. It is during the four days of captivity that Fernando realizes that their prisoner is a good man, prompting him to have second thoughts about killing him, if the demands were not given.
The film has several themes that are included in this course. The movie depicts the desire of revolutionists to fight an authoritarian regime, which they believe curtail their freedom. It shows how the young demonstrators oppose the social and political pressures being placed on them by the government. The struggle to fight the oppression of the Brazilian dictatorship is clearly portrayed in the movie. The film presents the civil unrest in Brazil as a result of the brutal authoritarian politics that exists in the country.
The film gave one a better appreciation of Brazil because of the soulful portrayals of the actors. Compared to the lectures and readings, the movie helps one visualize the brutality of the military government. The social injustice that is prevalent during those times in Brazil is emphasized through the various scenes in the movie. The facial expressions, gestures and their language give one a better understanding of the characters’ sentiments. Furthermore, the movie is able to present to the audience the social, political and cultural environment in Brazil. The first part of the movie gives a brief background of what Brazil is known for. The wonderful beaches are shown and its festivities, which shows that Brazilians are happy people. The director effectively contrasts these scenes with those of the demonstrations of the students of Brazil. The irony in these scenes makes the movie even more powerful in trying to convey its message to the audience.
The part of the movie that one finds most poignant and memorable about the film is when Paulo (Fernando) points a gun to the Ambassador’s head. One can observe that Paulo is reluctant to kill the Ambassador because during the past days that they were together, he got to know him better. He realizes that the Ambassador is human too and he too is sympathetic to the cause of their movement. Paulo is caught in a situation where he no longer knows what is the right thing to do. At this point, one can see the struggle of Paulo as his personal beliefs become contrary with those of the ideals of their movement. This scene is significant because of one’s realization that individuals who are fighting against a regime are sometimes placed in a position where their personal integrity comes into conflict with the desire to fight the injustice that they are suffering from the dictatorship.
Overall, one thinks that the movie allows the audience to better understand people who are involved in political revolutions. Whether they will be considered as heroes or terrorists will depend on a more in-depth analysis of their character, their motivations and their ideologies.