A historical reconstruction of the “Minas conspiracy”, a frustrated attempt to overthrow the colonial government in the late 18th century. The film criticizes the official version of the incident and questions the political commitment of intellectuals.
Our story begins with Macunaima's miraculous birth to an old woman in a tiny jungle settlement. Born full grown, he discovers his life's purpose which leads him and his family/followers on a journey to the Big City. On the way, more miracles occur, but Macunaima still has the heart and mind of a child. In the Big City, he is co-opted by terrorists who enlist him in their revolutionary schemes. In the Big City he learns that nuts are not always food and other hilarious lessons of life.