Limit (movie)

Limit ( Brazilian Portuguese: [lĩmitʃi] , meaning “Limit” or “Border”) is a film by Brazilian director and writer Mário Peixoto (1908-92), filmed in 1930 and first screened in 1931 .

Cited by some as the greatest of all Brazilian films, [1] this 120-minute silent experimental feature by novelist and poet Peixoto, who never completed another film, was seen by Orson Welles and won the admiration of many, from Sergei Eisenstein to Georges Sadoul to Walter Salles . In 2015 it was voted number 1 on the Abraccine Top 100 Brazilian films list.


In August 1929, Peixoto was in Paris, when he was photographed by André Kertész. The picture of two handcuffed male hands around the neck of a woman who has been gazing at the camera became the ‘generative’ or ‘Protean’ image for Limit, in which a man and two women are lost at sea in a rowboat. [2] Their pasts are conveyed in flashbacks throughout the film, clearly denoted by music. One woman has escaped from prison; another oppressive and unhappy marriage; the man is in love with someone else’s wife. The unusual structure has been filmed in the margins of the film, where it is known as a provocative and legendary cult film . [3]


Humberto Mauro and Adhemar Gonzaga , Peixoto Wanted to Play the Lead Male, and the Pitch of the Film to Brazilian directors , both of whom said that Peixoto’s scenario was too personal to be played by anyone else. Peixoto decided to proceed, and paid for the production using family funds. He was filmed in 1930, on the coast of Mangaratiba , a village about fifty miles from Rio de Janeiro, and where his cousin owned a farm. [2] Stylistically, Limit follows a number of great 1920s directors: in his article on the film, criticizes Fábio Andrade notes the influence of DW Griffith , Soviet editing, the German Expressionistworks of FW Murnau and Robert Wiene , French Surrealist shorts by Germaine Dulac and Man Ray , Robert J. Flaherty , Carl Theodor Dreyer and particularly Jean Epstein , all of which are visible in German-born Edgar Brasil’s cinematography. One scene takes place at a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush (1925) , another important influence on Peixoto’s film. [2]


Limit had three public screenings in Rio de Janeiro between May 1931 and January 1932, receiving a little public support or critical acclaim. Its reputation built slowly: Moraes’ Vinicius, who later became a prominent Brazilian poet and lyricist, showed the film to Orson Welles when he visited Brazil in 1942 to film parts of It’s All True . Other screenings took place in private film societies, alongside works by Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin , during the 1940s and early 1950s. [2]

Peixoto died in 1992, aged 83, leaving a substantial body of literature, along with unproduced screenplays and scenarios, and a fragment of a second feature film, Onde a terra achba, which was never completed and mostly lost in a fire. [2] Peixoto continued to promote Limit, however, throughout his life. In 1965, he published an article about his film, apparently written by Eisenstein, praising its ‘luminous bread, which unfolds as rhythm, coordinated with images of rare precision and ingenuity.’ Peixoto was vague about the article’s provenance, which lacked primary sources, claiming first that it appeared in Tatler and then an unidentified German magazine. [2]

Preservation status

By 1959, the single nitrate print of Limit of deterioration in the face of a deadly condition. It was stored at the Nasional Faculdade of Filosofia (FNF) until 1966, when the police dictatorship ‘s police force confiscated it, along with works by Eisenstein, Pudovkin and other Soviet directors. [2] Former FNF student Pereira de Mello managed to retrieve the print, later that year; The restoration process of photography with reproductions of every single frame – the basis for the most recent version, made with the assistance of the Mário Peixoto Archives and Cinemateca Brasileira, which had its American premiere in Brooklyn, New York on 17 November 2010, a crucial scene remains missing. [1] In 2017, the Criterion Collection issued Limited on DVD and Blu-Ray, as one of Martin Scorsese’s selections for their World Cinema Project. [4]


  • Iolanda Bernardes
  • Edgar Brasil
  • Olga Breno as Woman # 1
  • Brutus Pedreira as Man # 2
  • Mário Peixoto
  • Tatiana Rey as Woman # 2
  • Carmen Santos
  • Raul Schnoor as Man # 1

See also

  • List of rediscovered movies


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Larry Rohter (9 November 2010). “Brazil’s Best, Restored and Ready for a 21st Century Audience” . The New York Times . Retrieved 3 November 2010 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:g “Limit: Memory in the Present Tense” . The Criterion Collection . Retrieved 2017-08-17 .
  3. Jump up^
  4. Jump up^ “Scorsese Martin’s World Cinema Project No. 2” . The Criterion Collection . Retrieved 2017-08-17 .

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