Based on the real-life ordeal of a young German held captive for nine months by the Tupinamba Indians, this drama opens in 1550, when its titular protagonist (Carlos Evelyn) has just completed his journey to Brazil in the midst of Portuguese colonization. After his runaway black slave is brutally murdered, Staden is captured by a tribe of naked, painted cannibals who are enemies of the colonizers. Although he initially views his captors as little more than godless savages, Staden fights and hunts with them, and he eventually develops a strong connection with one (Ariana Messias). Using Staden's published accounts of his experience, the film blends historical objectivity with respect for the Tupinambas, whose culture the protagonist comes to appreciate. This film was screened at the 2000 Cannes Festival.
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