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Film / O Homem da Capa Preta

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O Homem da Capa Preta, or better known in English as The Man in the Black Cape is a Brazilian movie of 1986, written and directed by famous Brazilian Director Sérgio Rezende. Its a semi-biographical account of real-life politician Tenório Cavalcanti, a right-wing populist turned left-wing from Duque de Caxias, a municipality of the Rio de Janeiro state.

This work has examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Politician: It´s implied, although not fully shown, that the Tenório himself mowed his enemy Maragato after he killed one of his bodyguards.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The villains gloat this about Tenório right before they are knifed or shot. In the end, however, Silas says to Tenório, through a New Era Speech, that Tenório political power shall be taken by the Ditadura, presumably making Silas the new boss of the turf.
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  • Ambiguously Jewish: The Journalist is portrayed by real-life Jewish actor Jonas Bloch, and could be based a Jew or a jew-descendant himself.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: The persona that Tenório promotes to the public.
  • A Father to His Men: Almost literally, as in real life, many of Tenório´s bodyguards and supporters were in fact relatives or acquaintances from his state in the Brazilian Northeast and around Caxias favelas.
  • Badass Boast: Quoted from the real life Tenório:
    I´m not a communist, i´m not a fascist, i´m not a coward. I am Tenório. And i´m a macho.
  • Badass Bookworm: Real-life Tenório Cavalcanti earned a Law Degree for becoming a better politician. This is briefly showcased in the film in scenes showing his personal library and him brandishing the Constitution as a weapon for the people.
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  • Banana Republic: The movie takes place during the dictatorship years, when Brazil was ruled by a military junta. While Tenório at first has the outlook of a typical Brazilian caudillo and political boss, his character development and the evolution of Brazil makes things a little more complex than in the start.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Tenório is a populist politician with a body count of dozens of political enemies killed through his life, who openly trades votes for political support, and, in real life, had ties to gambling and even used his matador image to promote a inseticide with his own name, through his own newspapers. His enemies, on the other side, had instigated most of the killers that he had to defend himself from or send other killers against, tried to evict poor people from their shacks personally leading corrupt policemen, used the same police as their private army against him, and then became collaborators in the military dictatorship which supressed democracy.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tenório sucessfully takes the Journalist and the Sindicalist to safety, and lives in peace with his family after The Coup, despite being having his polical career utterly ruined by his enemies.
  • Blatant Lies: Silas, through an Non-Answer: All we want is to wage combat against banditry. Not so much of a lie, as he genuinely considers Tenório to be nothing more than a ruffian chief.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: If he had lived in any other era than Cold War Brazil, Tenório maybe could have been sidelined but not blacklisted by the new government, surviving in the backstage as did many defeated politicians in Brazilian history.
  • The Cape: Tenório promote this image of himself, wearing a cape as if he was defender of justice. In truth, the titular cape served the purpose of concealing his MG-34 at indoor environments, like in the famous I just shoot at men scene.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Tenório, even when he is in good mood.
  • Composite Character: The Sindicalist and the Journalist are probably mash-ups(and personifications) of several people that the real Tenório Cavalcanti interacted in his life. His foil Silas is, mostly strikingly, a mashup of real people like the reviled/venerated Bahian politician Antônio Carlos Magalhães.
  • The Conspiracy: The Getulist, and later, the conservative politicians who are always scheming to bring Tenório down.
  • Cool Base: Tenório´s personal mansion/stronghold inside the favela, which includes even a secret compartiment/coffer for hiding his escaped friends. Still exists in real life. Sadly, this building style were later imitated by drug lords in Rio de Janeiro and elsewere in Brazil, which they nowadays use to assert their control of the hoods and stash drugs, munitions and goods that were smuggled, robbed, or traded in by drug addicts.
  • Cool Gun: Tenório had a MP-34 in real life, although he mostly used it in his own hood, and problably in single-fire mode, as would not be very wise to use a full auto high-power machine-gun in a place full of his political supporters.
  • Corrupt Cop: Maragato is purposely appointed for ridding of with Tenório. He is a pretty honest man for the time standards, but in place of proctecting the population, opresses places where Tenório electors live.
  • Corrupt Politician: Despite acusing Silas of verily being this, Tenório receives more screentime doing vote buying than his adversaries, and his ambiguous position over gambling is briefly hinted at a scene. In real life, Tenório rised to politics after being a enforcer for local politicians and landowners, who secured popular support through classical caudilhismo and clientelism. His adversaries are shown to be worse because they kill and torture innocent civilians for getting what they want.
  • The Coup: At the end.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Tenório stood with the masses and his new allies to the end.
  • Desconstruction: Of the Anti-Hero, Cowboy Cop and Vigilante genres, and also of political biographies. Tenório is shown as a very virtuous and expedite human being, but also full of flaws and ambiguities.
  • End of an Era: The sucessive electoral defeats, and later, the successfull military coup marked the end of an era for wildly populist politicians like Tenório and his former rivals, opening the way for cold professionals, emotionless like Silas.
  • Expy: Of various politicians and personalities in Brazil. In Silas case, can board the No Celebrities Were Harmed territory.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Somewhat of. After his former enemies become the weak side in the political radicalization ongoing in Brazil at the time, Tenório supports the political heir of one his most bitter enemies.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Sort of. Berê is a throughly slick, psychopatic, trigger happy cop, while Maragato is more of a by the law, do what I to have to be done cop. This won´t stop him of acting as a direct enforcer of Tenório´s enemies, tough.
  • Idiot Ball: Cabral, who kills one of Tenório´s men and goes calmly see his lover at home, where the man which he didn´t kill butchered them both. And in real life, some adversaries of Tenório that supported the Ditadura, only for getting themselves persercuted by it, and some of them were allegedly assassinated by it´s agents.
  • I Didwhat I Had To Do: How Tenório tries to explain to Zina his more extreme actions.
  • Inspector Javert: Maragato claims that he wants to destroy Tenório´s power not because he is a political enemy of his employers, but because he really deems Tenório as a sort of criminal.
  • Historical Domain Character: Tenório, who really existed, and some of the directly named Brazilian personalities in the movie.
  • Honor Before Reason: Tenório could probably keep all that he got if he did not aligned with the neo-Getulists before the Coup. But he couldn´t stop trying to fight against The Man until the very end.
  • Jumping the Shark: In-universe, in a bid to reattain lost popularity, Tenório accepts to be shaved from his trademark beard on live television, something that his wife is visibly embarrassed of.
  • The Last DJ: Despite being an ardent anti-getulist, and for extension, anti-leftist politician for most of his life, in the end of the movie(and also his life) he would be one of the last resisters against the Military Dictatorship, helping people flee from the country after his own political powers were taken by his enemies.
  • Leitmotif: The unnamed Accordion Music.
  • Police Are Useless: Sadly averted. Army and police spend most of their time being after Tenório or beating civilian thought to be associated to him.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Bereco, the perpetually grinning and joking trigger happy cop.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: To a extent, Maragato, almost bordering in Inspector Javert territory.
  • The Quisling: Somewhat of. Even before becoming pro-leftist, Tenório calls Silas an entreguista or sellout, which is a Brazilian political term for someone who sides with the gringos (i.e. Americans) against his country interests. What is basically what Silas becomes in the end, as he becomes a civilian leader of the Ditadura, conspiring with an unnamed executive of an American company to topple Tenório and other local populist politicians.
  • Renaissance Man: Politician, turf boss, self-made hero, journalist, lawyer, and also, not stated in the movie, entrepreneur.
  • Rule of Cool: Tenório really did make another politician wet his pants with a gun. With a pistol, in fact, but the director simply thought it was cooler if he drew a machine gun in the House.
  • Self-Made Man: The movie don´t shows, but Tenório evolved from a poor peasant boy running away from the retribution of killing his father´s murderer, to a battle-hardened political boss, with a fortified mansion as his base.
  • Smug Snake: Silas.
  • Voice of the Resistance: What Tenório tries to be in the end.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tenório and The Journalist. Also, with the Syndicalist.
  • Windmill Crusader: Tenório is a genuine hero who gets to defend helpless people against real violence; but the persercution by his enemies causes distress in his family, kills a lot of his friends, and in the end he fights against the incoming Ditadura in what is day to day becoming a hopeless fight.
  • Witch Hunt: Tenório is named in a list for this by the The Conspiracy.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: How Tenório is treated by his conservative allies after leaving them away. They are seen plotting with Silas and a unnammed CEO against him and other left-wing politicians.