In 1910, in a remote part of rural Brazil, an old blood feud still rages between the impoverished Breves and wealthier Ferreira families over a piece of sugar-cane farmland. After his oldest sibling is murdered, Tonho Breves (Santoro) is ordered by his father to kill a Ferreira to avenge the death. As he ponders the wisdom of this obligation, Tonho finds himself enthralled by gorgeous traveling-circus performer Clara (Antonio) and the possibility of escape.
Salles's rugged yet beautifully photographed story of love, destiny, and vengeance gracefully combines elements from ancient Greek tragedy and the rich tradition of Latin American magic realism. Newcomers Santoro, Antonio, and young Ravi Ramos Lacerda, as Tonho's reverent kid brother Pacu, offer affecting performances under the imaginative direction of Salles, who'd go on to make the Oscar-winning "Motorcycle Diaries." While not explicitly allegorical, "Sun" depicts an endless cycle of violence which certainly resonates in today's world.