Linha de Passe


Linha de Passe
Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas
2008, Media Rights Capital, Pathé, Videofilmes Produçoes
113 minutes (Portuguese)

LATAMROB rating: ****

WALTER SALLES reunites with Daniela Thomas to co-direct a moving portrait of kitchen-sink desperation in the favelas of São Paulo that is refreshing for challenging the raw, gun-toting character of so many movies about the impact of urban poverty on the hopes and expectations of ordinary people. It is perhaps appropriate to focus on this film now amid World Cup fever, because Linha de Passe is the name of a Brazilian football team and a sub-current of this movie – in the form of Dario (Vinícius de Oliveira, who starred in Salles’ classic Central Station), an aspiring soccer player with fanciful dreams of being a professional – is the role the sport plays in the hearts and hopes of São Paulo’s people. Dario is one of four brothers whose lives and that of their long-suffering mother Cleuza, who works as maid for a middle-class family, are traced in Linha de Passe to tell a tale of deception and expectation in the struggle to find a way out of the favela. Their lives are cramped, cash-strapped and grim, but what emerges is a commentary on the absence of the father in society and how, despite that, each of the characters can reach an epiphany of sorts. – EC

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