Mário Peixoto or Mário Breves Peixoto , his full name, was born on March 25, 1908 – on the same date as David Lean, his favorite director -, probably in Belgium where his father, João Cornélio, attended a chemistry course.

He is a descendant of a wealthy family: Commander Joaquim José de Souza Breves, the largest coffee planter in the empire and the largest slave trader on his mother’s side, and sugar millers on his father’s side.