Synopsis by Mark Deming
This fanciful fantasy from Brazil (which was adapted from a play that previously inspired a top-rated Brazilian TV series) follows two poor but resourceful young men, Jack the Cricket (Matheus Nachtergaele) and Chico (Selton Mello), on their adventures. Looking for work, Jack and Chico get a job at a bakery, where the mean-spirited owner feeds them food so awful that when they give it to a dog, it kills the poor animal, leading the boys to fast-talk a priest into giving the dog a funeral mass. Later on down the road, shy Chico falls in love with beautiful Rosinha, whose father is the town's wealthiest citizen. While Chico is too timid to approach her, Jack is able to fool Rosinha's boyfriends into leaving town, leaving the field open for his friend. And finally, a gang of ruthless criminals invades the town and goes on a murder spree, with Jack gunned down alongside many of the town's most prominent citizens. As Chico buries his friend, Jack matches wits in the next world with the Devil (Luis Melo), persuading the Virgin Mary (Fernanda Montenegro) to put in a good word for himself and his friends to Jesus. O Auto Da Compadecida proved to be a box-office sensation in Brazil, where it has become the nation's top-grossing homegrown feature.