Young Tony decides to return to his hometown. There, he discovers his father has returned to France claiming to miss his friends and country of origin. Tony ends up becoming a teacher, and finds himself amid conflicts and inexperience.
Based on a novel "A Distant Father" by Antonio Skármeta, same author from "Il Postino :The Postman" and "No". The sierras of southern Brazil, 1963. The son of an French man and a Brazilian woman, Tony is a young man with a profound love of cinema and poetry. After graduating from college he returns to his small town in rural Brazil, to find out that his father had left for good. Tony then looks for the company of his father's friends in search of information and references of a lost male role model. He becomes a school teacher and a male figure to kids, in an attempt to provide them with something he lacks himself. A series of developments lead him to a surprising final lead on his father whereabouts and reasons for leaving.
As someone very familiar with modern Brazilian and European cinema, I'd have to agree with Lovecraft Movies' comment that this just as well could have been a European film. While they see it as a positive, I see it as a bit of a critique. It felt like Selton Mello really, really (like, really) wanted this to feel like a Euro arthouse flick. He's punching above his weight at this point in his directorial career. The other reviewer's comment that the second act wasn't as centered as it could have been, I also agree with.
At some level, the aesthetics and locations brought me back to one of my favorite Brazilian films from 2001, To The Left of the Father (coincidentally, with Selton Mello as part of the cast).
That being said, Mello did his best job yet in the director's chair, and I do recommend this film for its stylization and cinematography (just wish the former could have been toned down a tad), with the story coming in at a close third.
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