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LINHA DE PASSE

Director: WALTER SALLES & DANIELA THOMAS

BRAZIL • 2008 • sub titled • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 113 MIN


IN HER VERY FIRST FEATURE, SANDRA CORVELONI WON BEST ACTRESS AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL FOR HER DETERMINED PORTRAYAL OF A SÃO PAULO MOTHER BRINGING UP FOUR SONS ON HER OWN.
For director Walter Salles this ensemble drama marks not only a return to the teeming Brazilian urban milieu of his breakthrough feature Central Station but a reunion with its young star, Vinicius de Oliveira, who trained for four years to perfect the footballing skills he displays here as one of the city’s many young hopefuls. Thousands clog the major clubs’ selection process each week, but once you hit eighteen the tryouts are over. De Oliveira’s Dario isn’t getting any younger but his dream sustains him in the meantime, unlike his sibling Dinho (Jose Geraldo Rodrigues), who’s beginning to doubt his religion, and Dênis (João Baldasserini), who can’t see any way forward as he slogs it out as a motorcycle courier. Apple of his hard-working mum’s eye is Reginaldo (Kaiquede Jesus Santos), who’s never met his father but has a funny feeling it might be the bus-driver on his route to school…
The crisscross of individual fortunes in a tough city environment has become almost a sub-genre in recent years, and it’s to the credit of Salles and co-director Daniela Thomas that their story never feels like it’s being manipulated for dramatic impact, eschewing the shock values of the likes of City of God to draw a portrait of undemonstrative authenticity. It’s a graceful, compassionate film, working towards a note of watchful optimism as the possibility of self-determination makes its hesitant entrance into these circumscribed lives. — Trevor Johnston.

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