In Connecticut, lonely widowed Professor Walter Vale has a boring life. He teaches only one class at the local college and is trying to learn how to play the piano, despite not having the necessary musical talent. Walter is assigned to attend a conference about Global Policy and Development at New York University, where he is to give a lecture about a paper on which he is co-author. When he arrives at his apartment in New York, he finds Tarek Khalil, a Syrian musician, and Zainab, a Senegalese street vendor, living there. He sympathizes with the situation of the illegal immigrants and invites the couple to stay with him. Tarek invites him to go to his gig at Jules Live Jazz. Walter is fascinated with his African drum and Tarek offers to teach Walter to play the drum. However, after an incident in the subway, Tarek is arrested by the police and sent to a detention center for illegal immigrants. Walter has just hired a lawyer to defend Tarek when, out of the blue, Tarek's mother Mouna ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
During Walter's drum lesson(s), he is told to forget about 4/4 time as the African beat is 3/4. He plays in 3/4 with his friend throughout most of the film and in his final scene in the subway, he is playing in 4/4 time. See more »
The deportation center is supposed to be in Queens, but the street signs on the corner are obviously those of Manhattan - not only does it refer to W 115th St (there is no "W" or "E" in Queens), but it's also the telltale green/white color scheme of Manhattan street signage. See more »
This was an incredible heartwarming and heart-breaking movie. Its power lies in its simplicity. In some ways its is a coming of age movie about a middle-aged professor coming to terms with his life and allowing himself to finally be who he is. Or perhaps a re-birthing movie in which, having died psychologically and spiritually, he emerges from his cocoon.
A series of random events coincide to bring about a life-changing event (isn't that always the case?). The unfolding of the story occurs at a slow and steady (but never boring) pace that is in perfect keeping with the tone of the movie. It operates at many levels at once, presenting a comedy, drama, social statement and lesson, magnificently intertwined. Without much fanfare viewers are carried along quietly and unknowingly by the movie before realizing they are totally caught up in the depth and humanity of the story. The events opens up the main character as well as the audience's awareness of what is happening all around us in everyday life, of which few are aware and most of us prefer not to know about.
What makes the movie what it is is the fact that it is not necessarily designed to make a specific point or manipulate the emotions of the audience or to provide an answer or ending to make folks feel one way or another. However these factors do emerge in the minds of viewers. This is why the movie have such an impact - a simple story, very well told, with no hidden agendas. Movie making at its best.
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