Walter Andrade’s review:
The Priest and the Girl is the biggest step the Brazilian cinema did to reach a new cinematographic language, which was the objective of the filmmakers working around the 60's and 70's. This was the movement called Cinema Novo.
Some aesthetic choices are visible as soon as you start watching this movie. The black and white contrast is so huge that remember baroque paintings, and it was wisely used to depict the contrast in the story as well. The soundtrack, although a little odd, is beautiful in its melody and the instrumentalization was made to transmit the aridity of the lands where it was made.
Nothing of this is really new, though. Joaquim Pedro de Andrade invested his efforts on creating a new cinematographic language in the curious misé on scéne presented. In most part of the movie you can guess what the characters are going to say because of their moves.
Yes, the characters are superficial. Yes, the story is too simple. However, you must remember that this was a poem at first. In the poem, the relationship of the priest and the people in town is automatically understood by the reader. In the movie, this details are holes in the screenplay. Instead, the director depicts it with mise en scéne.
The Priest and the Girl is so a worthy and dangerous attempt to reach a new language. In my opinion, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade made his point well, but none else understood, his ideas were never used again.