Synopsis by Mark Deming
The true story of a man who rose from poverty to become a respected but controversial spiritual leader forms the basis of this historical drama. João de Camargo (Lazaro Ramos) was born into slavery in Sorocaba, Brazil, in 1858. Thirty years later, Camargo became a free man when slavery was abolished in Brazil, and he took up farming with little success. In 1906, Camargo began experiencing sacred visions, and in time the visiting spirits told him the Lord wanted him to build a church. Camargo built his house of worship and became the key prophet of a faith which embraced both Catholic teachings and the influence of African spiritual cultures which came to Brazil with the slaves. With the help of his friend Cirino (Leandro Firmino), Camargo's church became a powerful force in Brazil, but he also angered the nation's political powers that be, as well as the leaders of Brazil's Catholic clergy. Cafundó also stars musician Leona Cavalli as the beautiful Rosario, who becomes a powerful ally in his struggle. A critical and commercial success in Brazil, Cafundó received its North American premiere at the 2005 Vancouver Film Festival.