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In 1970, near the World Cup, Daniel Stern and his wife Miriam leaves Belo Horizonte in a hurry and scared with their ten years old son Mauro in their Volkswagen. While traveling to São Paulo, the couple explains Mauro that they will travel on vacation and will leave Mauro with his grandfather Mótel. Daniel promises to return before the first game of the Brazilian National Soccer Team in the Cup. The boy is left in Bom Retiro, a Jewish and Italian neighborhood, and waits for Mótel in front of his apartment. When the next door neighbor Shlomo arrives, he tells the boy that Mótel had just had a heart attack and died. Alone and without knowing where his parents are, the boy is lodged by Shlomo and the Jewish community. Through the young neighbor Hanna, Mauro makes new friends, cheers for the Brazilian team and sees the movement of the police and militaries on the streets while waiting for his parents. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Coming of age tales seem to be old fashioned, perhaps because we've already got so many of these stories that they all seem the same. "Amarcord" (perhaps the least conventional coming of age film ever made
but what would you expect from Federico Fellini's reminiscences?),
"Pelle, the Conqueror", "My Life as a Dog", "Summer of '42" and "Radio Days", just to name a few, are unforgettable films. Naturally, these stories tend to repeat old clichés, but every now and then we get a fresh and sincere coming of age film, even if it's not innovative or particularly original. "O Ano em que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias" aka "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation" is one of those. It's not in the same level as the gems I mentioned, but it's delicate and touching.
Brazil, 1970: military dictatorship haunts the nation, and 12 year-old Mauro (Michel Joelsas) is sent to live in São Paulo with his grandfather (Paulo Autran), when his parents go "on vacation". While he waits for his parents to come back, Mauro roots for Brazil to win the FIFA World Cup for the third time. The movie resembles two good recent flicks, "Kamchatka" (Argentina, 2002) and "The Miracle of Bern" (Germany, 2003), in the way it has dictatorship and soccer at the core of their stories. Without being a masterpiece, "O Ano em que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias" is a nostalgic piece about an important time in Brazilian history. Besides, it was Paulo Autran's (one of, if not THE, greatest Brazilian actors of all time) last movie - an extra reason to check it. 8/10.
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