In a city of more than 20 million people, São Paulo presents many challenges and too few opportunities. For a mother and her four fatherless sons, it’s a confusing metropolis of many temptations and few clear guidelines. Directors Walter Salles (recipient of this year’s Founder’s Directing Award) and Daniela Thomas masterfully show, however, that the city does offer choices besides gangs and drugs. Dario pins his hopes on soccer. Dênis is a motorcycle courier, forced to consider crime in order to support his child. Dinho, working in a gas station, finds hope and meaning attending an evangelical church. Finally, Reginaldo, the youngest, is obsessed with finding his father, knowing only that he’s one of the city’s countless bus drivers. Cleuza, the mother of this difficult brood, is a loving parent but at somewhat of a loss when it comes to giving her boys the support and skills they need. The foundation for this rich familial drama is Salles and Thomas’s probing style, which gets under the surface of São Paulo to show life as it is lived, adding to the film’s astonishing verisimilitude with a cast of largely nonprofessional actors. Sandra Corveloni brings an affecting world-weariness to the part of Cleuza, and deservedly won the Best Actress Prize at Cannes. And those who remember Vinícius de Oliveira, the charming little boy Josué from Salles’s Central Station, will thrill to see him a decade later as the hopeful athlete Dario. Memorable and moving, Linha de Passe is a triumph of neorealist storytelling. —Rod Armstrong
Director/writer Walter Salles Jr. spearheaded the return of Brazilian cinema to international prominence in the latter half of the 1990s, particularly with his esteemed hit Central Station (1998). Born in Rio de Janeiro, the son of a well-heeled banker, Salles was raised in France and the United States before Brazil became his permanent home during his teens. Salles entered the Brazilian film industry as an award-winning documentary filmmaker during the industry’s 1980s/early-‘90s decline. After he moved to fiction with the thriller Exposure (1991), Salles’ feature career was stalled by Brazil’s disastrous economic freeze in the first half of the 1990s. Though he remained active by making documentaries for European television, Salles opted to stay in Brazil and made one of the first key films in the industry’s resurgence, Foreign Land (1995). Co-directed by Daniela Thomas, the internationally acclaimed Foreign Land addressed the fallout from Brazil’s economy through a mystery yarn set… read more
Um filme lindo, do melhor estilo brasileiro, talvez engane aqueles que tem pavor do estereótipo do cinema brasileiro, mas esse filme tem uma incrível originalidade já que estamos falando de Walter Salles um dos alicerces do cinema contemporâneo nacional, um bom autor tem a habilidade de transmitir tudo o que se propõe dentro de sua obra. Linha de Passe é cinema nacional no melhor estilo.