Paulo Honorio is a travelling salesman who circulates around the sertão. He decides to take the Fazenda São Bernardo from its incompetent owner. He takes it over and starts a family, marrying Madalena, who is a teacher. However, he falls prey to jealousy. After a violent argument with her husband which was connected with a probably love letter, Madalena kills herself. Paulo Honorio is left alone, open to his doubt and remorse, reflecting on his life.
"In São Bernardo the film begins exactly in the place where cinema almost always considers its job over. The film begins exact at this time - the time when the dramatic situation ends, when the actor apparently has nothing more to do, and when we usually see only supporting gestures (which are almost alwatis empty and void of action). It is exactly there that the most painstaking work of the actors begins because that is the moment that they transmit to the public an emotion that can be understood only through a small everyday gesture treated in a special way." (José Carlos Avellar)
Plot: dal romanzo omonimo di Graciliano Ramos.
Director of photography: Lauro Escorel, Moraes Filho.
Art director: Luis Carlos Ripper, Tulio Costa.
Editor: Eduardo Escorel.
Music: Caetano Veloso.
Sound: Walter Goulart.
Cast and characters: Othon Bastos (Paulo Honorio), Isabel Ribeiro (Madalena), Vanda Lacerda, Nildo Parente, Mário Lago, Josef Guerreiro, Rodolfo Arena, Jofre Soares, José Lablanca, José Poliecena, Audrey Salvador.
Production company: Marcos Farias, Marcio Noronha, Henrique Coutinho, Luna Moskovitch, Saga Filmes, Mapa Filmes.