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Before his compulsory retirement, on his last day of work, Marshall, JFK airport's chief Immigration officer, detains a group of Latin Americans and expose them to a series of humiliating situations. Blinded by prejudice, Marshall ends up causing the death of a young Brazilian. After a period in prison, Marshall goes to Brazil, deadly ill and in a desperate search in order to purge his guilt. In his quest, he is guided by Bia, a young prostitute. Written by
Immigration, Dreams, Intolerance, Bigotry, Racism, Hatred, Mistrust, Regret and Quest for Redemption
On the last working day before the compulsory retirement, the bigoted and bitter US Chief of Costumers and Boarder Protection Marshall (David Rasche) confines a group of Latin American immigrants in the airport. While Officers Bob Estevez (Frank Grillo) and Sandra (Erica Gimpel) interview the immigrants to investigate their real intentions, the alcoholic Marshall humiliates them with his prejudice.
When the Brazilian Nonato (Irandhir Santos), who has been living in North America for ten years and is the owner of a small catering for workers, presents his legal documents that prove that he is returning to America after visiting his daughter in Brazil, the abusive Marshall does not accept his documentation and degrades him and his private life with humiliations. Nonato argues with Marshall and has a nervous breakdown that leads the situation to a tragedy.
Marshall is imprisoned and when he is released years later terminal with a tumor in the kidney, he travels to the Northeastern of Brazil to seek out Nonato's daughter Luiza. In Recife, he meets the young prostitute Bia (Cristina Lago) that agrees to guide him to Petrolina, where the Luiza lives, in a quest for redemption.
"Olhos Azuis" is one of the best Brazilian films that I have recently seen, with a story about immigration, dreams, bigotry, racism, hatred, mistrust, regret and quest for redemption. Director José Joffily tells in the Making Of that this story was partially based on true events based on situations that travelers and immigrants have faced in the US Immigration.
The non-linear screenplay keeps the viewer's attention until the very last scene. The performances are top-notch with America, Brazilian and Argentinean cast. The bitter dialogs are magnificent, and this film is a good sample for those that still believe that living abroad is easy. In the end, the blue eyes of Marshall and Luiza show that we are all equals no matter where we are born. My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Olhos Azuis" ("Blue Eyes")
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