Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Year My Parents Took a Vacation

In a place starved of good entertainment it constantly surprises me that whenever there is something ‘good/different’ there is poor attendance. The Brazilians resumed their film festival and there seemed a marked drop in numbers- maybe because GuyExpo is running concurrently and another pseudo-political party markedly anti-Government, mysteriously springing up out of the blue as Elections are nearing, had their first meeting—but I digress..
This charming little film reminded me a bit of one of my favourite film – Cabaret – where the ongoing lives of the protagonists mask the darker political goings-on. The year is 1970 and 12-yr old football Mauro is suddenly dumped on his Grandfather’s doorstep as his parents, involved in anti-government/dictatorship activities are forced to go into hiding. I thought the director handled that part rather well—showing the parents turning up and leaving hurriedly while an ambulance whines by, unbeknowning to them, taking the said grandfather who collapsed from a presumed heart-attack. The other surprise, and it really shouldn’t have been- is that Sao Paulo had a large Jewish community post the World Wars.  Again it was a nice touch that the neighbor – an elderly Polish Jew who would have been fairly used to people disappearing and taken in for brutal questioning- assumes a loose responsibility for the child.
The children in the film acted quite well and there are a few bitter-sweet moments of growing up—like spying on attractive females taking their clothes off!  I was quite fascinated with the assumption that the newly-arrived whites were socially automatically ‘higher’ that the lone Black whose ancestors would have been there since the 1800’s and who was only ‘allowed in’ due to his athletic ability- ironically mirrored by Pele scoring a few winning goals to lead Brazil to win its third World Cup.
Interesting way to learn Brazil's history.

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