Lecture & Film

The Red Light Bandit (1968) – The Attack of the Marginal on the Rest of Cinema

O Bandido da Luz Vermelha

Martin Schlesinger

Nov. 30, 2017 20:15 h

Rogério Sganzerla was only 22 years old when he released The Red Light Bandit (O Bandido da Luz Vermelha), a film that he characterized as a „Western about the Third World“ – simultaneously a crime film, a sensationalist documentary and a bloodthirsty comedy. Not least because of this unconventional mixture of genres, the film emerged as a pivotal film of the Cinema Marginal, which attacked and undermined the existing national cinema of Brazil at the end of the 1960s and in the 1970s with a radically eclectic new aesthetic. Calling into the question the high modernism of Cinema Novo as well as the reactionary sensationalism of the government-controlled mass media, young directors like Sganzerla consciously chose a fragmentary, instable aesthetics to reflect the fragility of the social fabric of the time.