Water Salles invites us to cross the line…
Brazilian film-maker Walter Salles clearly has his South American roots firmly embedded in his craft. Movies like Central Station and The Motorcycle Diaries focused on the culture and traditions of his homeland and, after a brief foray into Hollywood with 2005 horror Dark Water, Salles is back doing what he does best with drama Linha de Passe.
Brothers Denis (Baldasserini), Dario (Oliveira), Dinho (Rodrigues) and Reginaldo (Santos) live with their very pregnant mother Clueza (Corveloni) in an extremely poor neighbourhood of Sao Paulo. Having different – and absent – fathers is perhaps an indication of why the boys are chasing very different dreams. Dinho hopes to find himself in the priesthood; Dario dreams of becoming a professional football star; Denis, already a father himself, chases one night stands; and the youngest (and only black child) Reginaldo becomes obsessed with a local bus driver he believes to be his father.
But despite their different goals, the brothers are all driven by a desperate need to find an identity away from their poverty stricken home life. And this is the central theme of Salles’s portrait of life in modern Brazil – how do you stand out, become a clearly defined person in a sprawling metropolis you share with 20 million other people?
Although his focus may be on the deeply personal, achingly moving plight of a family desperate to cross the lines of race and class, Salles is also saying a great deal about Sao Paulo itself. It’s a city struggling to remain within its boundaries, unable to contain the vibrant energy that oozes from its every sweaty pore. The sequences shot within this pulsating urban environment, including death-defying moped rides, contrast beautifully with the quieter, confined space of the boys simple home – just as their boisterous natures are a contrast to their mother’s reflective, grim determination to do right by her sons.
Energetic yet thoughtful, intelligent and provocative, Salles and his co-director Daniela Thomas provide another mesmerising snapshot of Brazil as the beating heart of modern South America. 5 stars
Stars Sandra Corveloni, Joao Baldasserini, Vinicius de Oliveira, Jose Geraldo Rodrigues, Kaique Jesus Santos
Directors Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas
Distributor Pathe Distribution Ltd
Running Time 1hr 53mins
Format DVD (£19.99 RRP)
Released March 2nd