Michel Joelsas comes under Germano Haiut’s wing in The Year My Parents Went On -Vacation
The Year My Parents Went On Vacation (Mongrel Media, 2006) D: Cao Hamburger, w/ Michel Joelsas, Germano Haiut. Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNN
Canadian street date: August 12
It's 1970 in Brazil, at the height of the military dictatorship. The soccer team's going for the World Cup, and 10-year-old Mauro's parents hastily drop him off outside his grandfather's apartment.
They're on the run from the government but tell Mauro they're going on vacation. The grandfather plan doesn't work out, and Mauro is stranded. He connects with Shlomo, an elderly neighbour of his grandfather, and gets integrated into the community via Hannah, the enterprising kid upstairs, but he never loses his longing for his parents or his sense of being an exile.
Cao Hamburger tells his story visually. Clear, complex emotion and quiet humour come through cutting and framing. Dialogue is brief and functional. Even when the movie looks like a mild, kid-centred comedy, Hamburger retains an undercurrent of menace.
Good, restrained performances support the visual storytelling. Michel Joelsas as Mauro and Germano Haiut as Shlomo keep their feelings in check, even when their mutual trust grows, conveying much with a glance or shrug.
While the making-of doc and interviews contain nothing earth-shaking, it's worth picking up for background on the attitudes and a bit of the history that shaped the movie.
EXTRAS Making-of doc, cast and crew interviews. Widescreen. Portuguese audio. English, Spanish subtitles.