for Cinetalk.net

Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries) and Daniela Thomas’s Linha de Passe (2008), written by George Moura,  is the account of Cleuza, a single mother living in São Paulo’s suburb with her four boys, all from different fathers.  Sandra Corvelloni, as the mother, won Best Actress Award at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for her inspired performance. The film also features music by Oscar winner Gustavo Santaolalla.

Already a grandmother and pregnant for the fifth time, Cleuza tries to cope with the hazards of a difficult life in poverty.  She works as maid for a middle-class family. One of her sons is an adept of Jesus, one is turning into a mugger, the youngest one is obsessed with finding his father and one, Dario (played by Salles’ regular Vinícius de Oliveira), seems to have what it takes to get to the promised land of professional football. She tries to keep things together, but numerous obstacles lie ahead for the bunch of half-brothers.

Salles and Thomas, use engaging parallels, finding echoes from the popular game, in describing microcosms of Brazilian society through classes, dysfunctional family and the country’s two official religions: God and Football. Cleuza is a Corinthians (the city’s big soccer club) hardcore fan. It is left unsaid, and there is no pressure from outside, but there is hope toward the talents of Dario.  Through individual goals, violence, corruption keeping one from climbing, brothers may face deceptions in their fights to evolve and divided they fall.

In this deeply religious country, despite the everyday violence,  with many dreams evolving around the possibility to be one of the few chosen ones, the single mother is like a manager trying to make the best of the particularities of his clan and shape it into one team, one family .

 

 

 

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