This fantastical fable follows the ever-changing relationships between members of a traveling circus trying to turn a profit in the back country of Brazil. Headed by mysterious ringleader Lord Gypsy (Wilker) and exotic rumba dancer Salome (Faria), the little troupe soon adds small-town accordionist Cico (Fabio Junior), who's enthralled by Salome to the point of neglecting his pregnant wife (Zaira Zambelli). As their fortunes dwindle with the times, the group is pushed to increasingly desperate measures.
Before "magic realism" was an identifiable strain in Latin American cinema, Diegues had an international box-office hit with "Bye Bye Brazil," a fanciful low-key story about the misadventures of a few struggling circus performers. Both an allegory for the disappearance of Brazil's natural environment and the stagnation of imagination that arrives with industrialization (not to mention TV and the coarsening of popular culture), Diegues' film is a perfect balance of witty fantasy and lyrical social commentary, with memorable performances by Wilker and Faria.