The Given Word


1h 38m 1964

Brief Synopsis

Ze is a very poor men from the Brazilian backlands. His most prized possession is his donkey. When his donkey falls terminally ill, Ze makes a promise to God. If his donkey recovers, he will carry a cross -- like Jesus -- all the way from the backlands to the state capital. Upon the recover of his donkey, Ze leaves on his journey. He makes it to the church, but there is a problem. The priest refuses to accept the cross once he hears the reason for such sacrifice ...

Film Details

Also Known As
O pagador de promessas
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
New York opening: 24 Mar 1964
Production Company
Oswaldo Massaini Productions
Distribution Company
Lionex Films
Country
Brazil
Location
Brazil
Screenplay Information
Based on the play O pagador de promessas by Alfredo Dias Gomes (São Paulo, 29 Jul 1960).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

Ze, an honest peasant farmer and devout Catholic, makes a vow to distribute his land and carry a heavy wooden cross on his back to the church in the neighboring village if the life of his ailing donkey is saved. When the animal recovers, Ze takes the cross and makes the arduous 30-mile pilgrimage to the Church of Santa Barbara. The local priest denies him admittance, however, because he made his vow during a voodoo ceremony. Determined to complete his mission, Ze waits patiently outside. After his wife has been seduced by Bonitao, a lecherous pimp, Ze becomes the center of attention: the town merchants exploit the event for their own mercenary ends, and newspaper reporters hail him as a communist agitator for giving away his land. Ze remains steadfast in his determination to place the cross upon the church altar. With the situation out of control, the bishop is summoned, but he is unable to persuade Ze to give up his cause. Finally, Bonitao instigates a riot during which Ze is killed. Suddenly silent, the crowd places Ze upon his cross, carries him into the church, and places the cross on the altar.

Film Details

Also Known As
O pagador de promessas
Release Date
Jan 1964
Premiere Information
New York opening: 24 Mar 1964
Production Company
Oswaldo Massaini Productions
Distribution Company
Lionex Films
Country
Brazil
Location
Brazil
Screenplay Information
Based on the play O pagador de promessas by Alfredo Dias Gomes (São Paulo, 29 Jul 1960).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Award Nominations

Best Foreign Language Film

1962

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Opened in São Paulo in August 1962 as O pagador de promessas.

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the Palme d'Or for Best Picture at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival.

Released in United States December 1998

Released in United States Spring March 24, 1964

Shown at the Museum of Modern Art (Cinema Novo and Beyond) in New York City December 5 & 21, 1998.

Released in United States Spring March 24, 1964

Released in United States December 1998 (Shown at the Museum of Modern Art (Cinema Novo and Beyond) in New York City December 5 & 21, 1998.)