The Year My Parents Went on Vacation
Born into a half Jewish family in Brazil, Mauro, portrayed by Michel Joelsas, is spirited away by his father and mother to Sao Paulo, Brazil to live with his Jewish grandfather. Mauro is told that his family is going on vacation, as they flee the established government roundup of communists (which they are) in 1970; the same year that a Pele led Brazilian Soccer team competed in the final stages of the World Cup.
The boy is Brazilian, and he is infatuated with all the trappings of soccer. When he arrives, he is dropped of at the pre-arranged location, but his grandfather does not pick him up and the parents have hurriedly fled. The grandfather has died only moment earlier, succumbing to a massive coronary, and the boy is forced to fiend for himself as he adjusts to a world without his parents. Fortunately, Jews congregate in communities, and there are Jews in this community to assist the boy, even though he is discovered to be a goy (half Jew). Reluctantly, Shlomo, the next door neighbor, played by Germano Haiut, finds the compassion to care for the boy and that care, as one would anticipate, is reciprocated.
Even though the boy is without his communist father and mother, he at least still has his soccer, and it is preeminent in the boy's existence. The soccer does bring much of the disparate Brazilians together, and fortunately, Brazil is victorious in the World Cup, because 1970 appears to be about shot in measuring up as a year to remember for Brazil.
The film has a slow pace, which is tough for those of us who are not infatuated with soccer, and must endure the 99 minutes for director Cao Hamburger to get to some point. Personally, I love to watch American football. I played American football, and, without argument, there is no more drama, or better athletes, or a sport that demands an adherence to teamwork or plan of game than American football, however, I am not infatuated with it. There is more to a complicated existence than American football, which, of course denotes, there is more to being in a tight spot than living vicariously through the triumphs or travails of soccer players.
I generally give foreign films a wide berth when I review them. I gave this film a passing grade, because I believe there are others who will identify with the communist / Brazilian Jew / soccer as religion thing. However, if these aforementioned issues are not important to you, find another film to rent.
Rated PG. Released on DVD July 15, 2008.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.