Any movie that features slavery and a child bride is not going to be a happy one. Vazante (2017) plunges the viewer into a harsh and primal world. The time is 1821, the place rural Brazil, and things go from bad to worse in exquisite slow motion. An aura of brutality, though never explicitly depicted, permeates every scene of this languidly-paced drama. Dialogue and character-development are minimal, allowing the stunning black-and-white cinematography to cast a dreamlike spell as the horror of this particular reality unfolds. The soundtrack is primarily birdsong and the rattling of chains, which pretty much sums up this beautifully made yet disturbing film.

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