Thursday, November 15, 2018

James Joyce in Brazil

Araby (2017) - Dumans, Ochoa
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Andre, a sullen teen, lives in a small mining factory town in Brazil with his sick little brother. His aunt who works at the factory as a nurse looks after them since their parents aren't around. There isn't much to do around. We are presented with their small sad lives. We see Andre's aunt giving a quiet laborer, Christiano (Aristides de Sousa), a ride to work. One day Christiano's hurt at the job and falls into a coma. At his aunt's request, Andre goes to where Christiano has been living to fetch some of his belongings. There he finds Christiano's journal. He starts reading it. The title appears and the real story begins...

Sharing the title of James Joyce's short, the film beautifully presents an everyman's story as he travels around Brazil, job to job, trying to eke out the living. A folksy soundtrack enforces the film's rather old fashioned approach. Yeah I get that everyone you see around has a story to tell. They all have hopes and dreams and good times and bad times. It follows the tradition of Olmi's social realism lyrically presented. Christiano's small existential angst is appropriately heartbreaking at the end.