The End and the Beginning
(O fim e o princípio)
Brazilian documentary filmmaker João Moreira Salles was executive producer of many of Coutinho’s films and completed his final, unfinished work, Last Conversations.
Coutinho and his crew set off to the Brazilian Sertão, the poor northeastern backlands marked by recurrent droughts, with no set topic for a film. After a chance encounter with Rosa, a young girl from a town of eighty-some families, she becomes the film’s guide. Through Coutinho’s conversations with people from the town’s aging population, the film’s subject becomes beginnings and endings—of lives, of relationships, of stories. Brazilian Cinema Nôvo had given us a symbolic and poetic Sertão in the 1960s; fifty years later, with The End and the Beginning, Coutinho gives us a real but no less poetic Sertão.