To the Left of the Father
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLuiz Fernando Carvalho
Written byLuiz Fernando Carvalho
Based onLavoura Arcaica by Raduan Nassar
Produced byLuiz Fernando Carvalho
Maurício Andrade Ramos
Donald K. Ranvaud
StarringSelton Mello
Raul Cortez
Juliana Carneiro da Cunha
Simone Spoladore
Leonardo Medeiros
Caio Blat
CinematographyWalter Carvalho
Edited byLuiz Fernando Carvalho
Music byMarco Antônio Guimarães
Video Filmes
LFC Produções
Raquel Couto Produções
Distributed byRioFilme
Running time
165 minutes
Box officeR$874.018[1] ($372.520)

To the Left of the Father (Portuguese: Lavoura Arcaica) is a 2001 Brazilian drama film produced, written, directed and edited by Luiz Fernando Carvalho, based on the novel of the same name by Raduan Nassar.[2][3][4][5] The film follows a man (Selton Mello) who returns to his father's home after many years and falls in love with his sister (Simone Spoladore). In 2015, the Brazilian Film Critics Association (Abraccine) placed To the Left of the Father among their list of 100 Greatest Brazilian Films of All Time.

Plot summary

The story concerns a young man living at home, André (Selton Mello), whose ideas are radically different from those of his farmer father (Raul Cortez). The father advocates order and restraint, which enhance his own power under the guise of family love. The son seeks freedom and pleasure, exemplified in his passion for his sister Ana (Simone Spoladore). When André moves to a seedy boarding house, his older brother Pedro (Leonardo Medeiros), is asked by their mother (Juliana Carneiro da Cunha) to bring him back. His return, however, will shatter the family's insular life.



Aiming to maintain the connection with the poetic prose of Raduan Nassar's book, Luiz Fernando Carvalho elected to film without a defined script, based entirely on the actors' improvisations on the theme. This involved intensive coaching of the cast, secluded on a farm for four months.[6][7][8][9] The film's creation and production process was discussed in the book About To the Left of The Father ("Sobre Lavoura Arcaica"), in which the director is interviewed by José Carlos Avellar, Geraldo Sarno, Miguel Pereira, Ivana Bentes, Arnaldo Carrilho and Liliane Heynemann, launched in Portuguese, English and French by the publisher Ateliê Editorial.[10]


It was a success with the critics[11][12][13][14] and the public, reaching 300,000 viewers with just two exhibition locations, one in Rio de Janeiro and the other in São Paulo.

Critical response

It is considered one of the 100 best Brazilian films of all time, according to the Brazilian Film Critics Association (Abraccine).[15] In the opinion of writer and psychoanalyst Renato Tardivo, author of Porvir que vem antes de tudo – literatura e cinema em Lavoura Arcaica, the film is one of the most important works of Brazilian cinema “of all times”.[16] The critic Carlos Alberto de Mattos described it as the first work of art of the Brazilian cinema in the 21st century.[17] The film was acclaimed by the critics of various countries and, according to the French magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, To the Left of the Father is a "barbarous poem verging on hallucination, of extraordinary power".[18][19][20][21]


Main article: List of accolades received by To the Left of the Father

It had a successful career in a number of national and international festivals, receiving over 50 awards at the Montreal World Film Festival,[22][23] the Rio Film Festival, the São Paulo International Film Festival, the Grand Prix for Brazilian Film, the Brasília Film Festival,[24] the Havana Film Festival,[25] the Cartagena Film Festival,[26] the Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema,[27] among others.


  1. ^ "Filmes Brasileiros Lançados - 1995 a 2012" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Ancine. p. 29. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  2. ^ Sylvie Debs (1 June 2008). "Du goût du public selon Luiz Fernando Carvalho". Cinémas d'Amérique latine (16): 74–86. doi:10.4000/cinelatino.2104. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  3. ^ Florence Colombani (9 July 2003). ""A la gauche du père", de Luiz Fernando Carvalho". Le Monde. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  4. ^ Hugo Sukman (28 October 2001). "Um cineasta que está entrando para o clube dos poetas". OGlobo. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  5. ^ Daniel Piza (22 August 2001). ""Lavoura Arcaica" estréia sábado no Canadá". Estado de S. Paulo. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  6. ^ José Geraldo Couto (14 August 2005). "Mergulho em Raduan Nassar conduz a pequena obra-prima" (in Portuguese). Folha de S. Paulo. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  7. ^ Marcelo Coelho (14 November 2001). "'Lavoura' e os indícios de uma obra prima". Folha de S. Paulo. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  8. ^ Tiago Mata Machado (23 October 2001). "Em "Lavoura Arcaica", Carvalho faz retrato do tempo". FolhaOnline. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  9. ^ Inácio Araújo (15 November 2001). "Longa é exceção exemplar no cinema do país". Folha de S. Paulo. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  10. ^ Luiz Fernando Carvalho (2002). Sobre Lavour'Arcaica – O filme. Atelier Cultural. ISBN 85-7480-140-2. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  11. ^ Luciano Trigo (28 October 2001). "Uma colheita esplêndida". RioShow. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  12. ^ José Geraldo Couto (24 September 2001). "Filme radicaliza linguagem". Ilustrada/Folha de S.Paulo. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  13. ^ Daniel Piza (25 November 2001). "Convulsões". O Estado de S. Paulo. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  14. ^ Diego Batle (11 May 2002). ""Luiz Fernando Carvalho, talento made in Brasil"" (in Spanish). La Nacion. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  15. ^ André Dib (27 November 2015). "Abraccine organiza ranking dos 100 melhores filmes brasileiros". Retrieved 26 October 2016.
  16. ^ Tardivo, Renato Cury (2009). Porvir que vem antes de tudo: uma leitura de lavoura arcaica - literatura, cinema e a unidade dos sentidos (Thesis). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). doi:10.11606/D.47.2009.tde-11122009-110032.
  17. ^ Carlos Alberto de Mattos (25 November 2001). "Festival do Rio: Lavoura Arcaica". Estado de S. Paulo. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  18. ^ Jean-Philippe Tessé (2003). "Les pieds dans la terre" (in French). Cahiers du Cinéma (edição 581). p. 85. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  19. ^ Jean-Philippe Tessé (6 July 2003). "Critique:A La Gauche du Père" (in French). Chronicart. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Critiques:A La Gauche du Père" (in French). AlloCiné. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  21. ^ Didier Peron (9 July 2003). "Pére de touts les vices. Relecture saisissante d'un monstre de la littérature brésilienne" (in French). Liberácion. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Montreal premia a ousadia de "Lavoura Arcaica"". Estadão. 5 September 2001. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  23. ^ "16 Awards of the Montreal World Film Festival 2001". n.d. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  24. ^ "Brasília celebra "Lavoura" e "Samba"". Folha de S. Paulo. 29 November 2001. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  25. ^ ""Lavoura" ganha prêmios em Havana". Folha de S. Paulo. 15 December 2001. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  26. ^ ""Lavoura Arcaica" ganha Festival de Cartagena". Folha de S. Paulo. 11 March 2002. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  27. ^ Ana Bianco (1 May 2002). "Una metáfora sobre los que no tienen lugar en la mesa social" (in Spanish). Página 12. Retrieved 24 April 2017.