Jorge is a São Paulo bandit well-known for his technique in his robberies and crimes. He is a kind of hero of the city. The police never seem to manage to catch him. He is nicknamed "the red-light bandit" because he always carries a red lantern with him ori his exploits. When he goes on a trip to Santos, forge meets Janete Jane, who is famous over all of Boca do Lixo, a crime and prostitute-ridden area. Janete is the one who will betray Jorge, but before Jorge commits suicide, he kills her.
"My film is a western about the Third World. It is this, and a fusion and mix of various genres since I do not believe in the separation of things into genres. I made a film-summa. It is a western, but also a documentary. It is a police film, a comedy, a chanchada (well, not exactly), and a science-fiction film. I squezeed sincerity out of the documentary (Rossellini), violence out of the police film (Fuller), anarchic rhythm out of the comedy (Sennett, Keaton), and brutal narrative simplification out of the western (Hawks). The western, too, yielded its love for grandiose panoramic shots and the wide open spaces (Mann). I could talk a lot about the chanchada, which I consider one of our richest cultural traditions. Likewise, I could mention the radio-style of this film. Brazilian radio is another tradition that cannot be disowned, especially when we are trying to get to the bottom of the implications of underdevelopment in our origins." (Rogério Sganzerla)
Rogério Sganzerla was born in 1946 in the town of Joaçaba, in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. Between 1964 and 1965 he wrote film critiques for the cultural supplement of the newspaper "O Estado de São Paulo" and for other newspapers. In 1967, he collaborated with Andréa Tonacci on his first film, the short film Documentário. He directed his first full-length film in São Paulo in 1968, O Bandido da Luz Vermelha, which caused a scandal and led to his clamorous break with Cinema Novo. He defined the outlines of Cinema Marginal, or "udigrudi" (according to a denigrating definition by Glauber Rocha), which weren't recognized by its exponents, including the various "Paulist" filmmakers. Nor was it recognized by Julio Bressane, who had become a friend of Sganzerla's in those years. During those years he was also exchanging ideas with Augusto De Campos, the famous exponent of Brazilian poesia concreta, and with the exponents of Tropicalism. In 1969 he directed A Mulher de Todos, starring the actress Helena Ignez, the "muse of the new cinema," who became his wife and often starred in his films. In 1970 he and Julio Bressane, along with Helena Ignez, founded the production house BelAir, which produced six films in a few short months (three by Bressane and three by Sganzerla). Gilberto Gil wrote the music for Copacaban a Mon Amour. Caetano Veloso, after seeing Sem Essa Aranha, wrote the song Qualquer Coisa. Like Bressane, Sganzerla was forced to leave Brazil by the military dictatorship: he and his wife moved to Paris, then to London. After returning to Brazil, in 1977 he directed O Abismu, starring Norma Bengell (who is also the producer), Wilson Grey and José Mojica Marins. He next directed the so-called trilogy about Orson Welles' experiences in Brazil: Nem Tudo é Verdade (1986), Tudo é Brasil, and O Signo do Caos (2003). This last film, which took many years to complete, was presented at the Festival of Brasilia at the end of 2003. Rogério Sganzerla died on January 9, 2004. Helena Ignez plans on making a film based on the screenplay which her husband had been working on during his final years. This film, Luz na Travas - A Revolta de Luz Vermelha, returns to the "red light bandit," thirty years later. In 2001 the book "Por um Cinema Sem Limite" (azougue editorial, Rio de Janeiro), was published; it is an anthology of various writings by Sganzerla about cinema.
Documentário (cm, 1966), O Bandido da Luz Vermelha (1968), A Mulher de Todos (1969), Comics/HQ (cm, doc, 1969), Quadrinhos no Brasil (cm, doc, 1969), Sem essa, Aranha (1970), Copacabana mon amour (1970), Carnaval na Lama (1970), A Miss e o Dinossauro (super8, 1970), Fora do Baralho (doc, 1971), Viagem e Descriçao do Rio Guanabara por Ocasião da França Antártica (cm, 1976), Umbanda no Brasil (cm, doc, 1977), Welles no Rio (cm, 1977), O Abismu (1977), Mudança de Hendrix (1971-78), Horror Palace Hotel (mm, doc, super8, co-regia: Jairo Ferreira, 1978), Noel por Noel (cm, doc, 1981), Brasil (cm, doc, 1981), Irani (cm, doc, 1983), E o Petróleo Nasceu na Bahia (cm, doc, 1984), Nem Tudo é Verdade (1986), Anónimo e Incomum (video, doc, 1990), A Alma do Povo Vista pelo Artista (video, doc, 1990), Isto é Noel (mm, doc, 1990), A Linguagem de Orson Welles (cm, doc, 1991), Perigo Negro (5° episodio di Oswaldianas), Tudo é Brasil (1998), Informação Koellreuter (cm, video, doc, 2003), O Signo do Caos (2003).
Director of photography: Peter Overbeck.
Art director: Andrea Tonacci.
Editor: Silvio Renoldi.
Music: scelta da Rogério Sganzerla.
Cast and characters: Paulo Villaga (Jorge), Helena Ignez (Janete Jane), Luís Linhares, Pagano Sobrinho, José Marinho, Roberto Luna, Renato Consorte, Maurice Capovilla, Ozualdo R. Candeias, Carlos Reichenbach, Lola Brah, Sérgio Hingst, Júlio Calasso.
Production company: Rogério Sganzerla, José da Costa Cordeiro, José Alberto Reis, Paulo Villaça, Flávio Sganzerla, Júlio Calasso Jr.