An oppressive regime, political propaganda and World Cup fever, all form the context to The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (O Ano em que meus pais sairam de ferias), the new film by Brazil’s Cao Hamburger to be released here in December. As the country prepares itself for the 1970 World Cup, young Mauro (Michel Joelsas) is driven by his parents to his grandfather’s apartment in Sao Paulo’s Bom Retiro district. Something’s amiss. Mom and dad are going on a vacation, he’s told. When will you be back to get me? Silence. In time for the World Cup finals, they tell him. Soccer fandom reached fever pitch in May of 1970, when Brazil won its third title in the World Cup. Soccer finding an unlikely ally in Shlomo (Germano Haiut), a solitary Jewish man and employee of the local synagogue. The unexpected cohabitation plunges them both into unknown worlds, Mauro finding refuge among a pack of local teenagers and Shlomo at the synagogue, where meetings are convened to decide the child’s fate. In a recent interview Hamburger commented that The Year is about a boy exiled in his own country. And he learns to get along in a new environment yet is exiled once again. In 1970, while Brazil won the World Cup for the third time the dictatorship censured and tortured opposition leaders.
ALI’S RATING * * *