André is an 18-year-old boy who lives near an aluminum factory in the industrial city of Ouro Preto, in southeastern Brazil. One day, after a fatal accident that has occurred in the factory, he is sent to the home of the dead worker, Christian, to collect some of his belongings. There you will find a newspaper that describes the last years in the life of the worker, a man who spent his entire life in the midst of poverty and social oppression. The first film directed jointly by Joao Dumans and Affonso Uchoa tells the adventures, loves and despairs of Cristiano, a fascinating character whose lyrical gaze immerses us in the reality of the most disadvantaged class in Brazil.
Bordering on boring with a few interesting moments. Keeps your attention nevertheless due to the variety in scenery and people we meet
Saw this at the Rotterdam film festival (iffr.com) 2017, where it was part of the Tiger Competition. Similar to 2016, again the nominations for the Tiger Award were confined to only eight movies, so being part of the happy few rises expectations. The movie itself has the format of a road movie, but that would be a misnomer. Actually we see an endless series of jobs, places, people he met or worked with, and so on and so forth. There is no development of any kind, just a seemingly infinite sequence. It portrays the lives of the workers there and their low-end jobs with low (or none, sometimes) payment. Everything is centered around one man: Christiano, who wrote it all down in a diary for 20 years.
The net result is mildly interesting because of the variety in locations, work places and situations. There were a few pivotal moments, however, for example when people talked about the late Bareet (sp?) who was good in organizing workers into a strike and thus successfully forced better payments. A second example was his short relationship with Ana, that prematurely ended but continued on a distance by exchanging letters. But that is all there is. I wrongly assumed beforehand that the diary would expose the dangers faced by workers in the factory, causing the hospitalization of Christiana that we see in the opening scene. But there was no such indictment against employers, although we see ample instances where laborers do have to work in questionable circumstances.
The movie borders on boring due to the very calm passage of scenes, yet keeps you awake for the complete running time because of the diversity of said scenes. Each on itself was powerful enough to stand on its own feet and to make clear what was going on. The role of young man Andre is minimal, and only important in the first 10 minutes when he is sent to collect some clothes and an ID after Christiano is hospitalized, in whose house he finds a diary spanning 30 years. From that moment on, the story rewinds to the moment when Christiano started to take notes. The story is told by a voice-over intermixed with played fragments, all of which feature Christiano but each time having other co-players and a different location as tapestry.
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