Brazil, 2008, 110 minutes
Thu, Apr 29 / 4:15 / Kabuki / LINH29K
Fri, Apr 30 / 6:30 / PFA / LINH30P
In a city of more than 20 million people, São Paulo presents many challenges and too few opportunities. For a mother and her four fatherless sons, it’s a confusing metropolis of many temptations and few clear guidelines. Directors Walter Salles (recipient of this year’s Founder’s Directing Award) and Daniela Thomas masterfully show, however, that the city does offer choices besides gangs and drugs. Dario pins his hopes on soccer. Dênis is a motorcycle courier, forced to consider crime in order to support his child. Dinho, working in a gas station, finds hope and meaning attending an evangelical church. Finally, Reginaldo, the youngest, is obsessed with finding his father, knowing only that he’s one of the city’s countless bus drivers. Cleuza, the mother of this difficult brood, is a loving parent but at somewhat of a loss when it comes to giving her boys the support and skills they need. The foundation for this rich familial drama is Salles and Thomas’s probing style, which gets under the surface of São Paulo to show life as it is lived, adding to the film’s astonishing verisimilitude with a cast of largely nonprofessional actors. Sandra Corveloni brings an affecting world-weariness to the part of Cleuza, and deservedly won the Best Actress Prize at Cannes. And those who remember Vinícius de Oliveira, the charming little boy Josué from Salles’s Central Station, will thrill to see him a decade later as the hopeful athlete Dario. Memorable and moving, Linha de Passe is a triumph of neorealist storytelling.
Photo of Walter Salles by Christine Ordioni.