Linha De Passe (15)



Drama (2008)
113mins Bra

Starring: Joao Baldasserini, Vinicius de Oliveira, Jose Geraldo Rodrigues, Kaique de Jesus Santos, Sandra Corveloni
Director: Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas
Writer(s): George Moura, Daniela Thomas, Braulio Mantovani
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Single mother Cleuza, a pregnant housemaid in danger of losing her job, struggles to keep control of her boys in the slums of Sao Paolo, especially the youngest, Reginaldo, who is obsessed with tracking down his biological father. Eldest child Denis works as a motorcycle courier but is contemplating a life of crime to ensure he can pay child support. Dinho works at a gas station and is seeking absolution at the local evangelical church, while talented footballer Dario lies about his age to secure a try-out for the youth squad. All four young men face life-altering decisions, guiding them towards their day of reckoning.

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LondonNet Film Review by Jill Hilbrenner
Linha de Passe

Four brothers crammed into a dingy Sao Paulo shack with their heavily pregnant mother have watched poverty poison dreams. In their city of 20 million, football, religion and crime sometimes seem like the only ways to escape broken households. Their newest sibling, just like them, will not know a father...

KAIQUEDE JESUS SANTOS as Reginaldo in Linha de PasseDon't assume that Linha de Passe, co-directed by Walter Salles of The Motorcycle Diaries and Daniela Thomas, is just another hardship-steals-youth melodrama. The film relies more on internal conflicts than glamourised violence to take a poignant look at the congested South American city. These boys question themselves, and each other, as they search for redemption.

The leading characters in Linha de Passe, which takes its title from a football pitch marking, are based on stories of actual Brazilian youths. Money-hungry motorcycle messenger Dênis is the older brother of born-again Christian and former criminal Dinho. Both begin to doubt that their diversions can provide sufficient escapes.

Dario (Vinicius de Oliveira, of Salles' Oscar-nomination Central Station), lies about his age to impress the football scouts scouring local boys like cuts of steak. The youngest, Reginaldo, resents his race and trawls the local bus station for company. His character (played by Kaíquede Jesus Santos) is perhaps the most haunting, with an unfeeling, coal-coloured stare that ages him beyond his 14 years.

Other than de Oliveira, Salles and Thomas primarily used unknowns and non-actors to keep their production true to its origins. Sandra Corveloni made her feature-film debut as the boys' mother, Cleuza, and took the Best Actress award at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. With any luck, more nods could come this awards season. Full of grit, beautifully shot and carefully patchworked to support five unique storylines, Linha de Passe is bound for success outside Sao Paulo.

- Jill Hilbrenner

LondonNet Film Review by Sam Cannon
Linha de Passe

Award-winning Brazilian director Walles Sales (The Motorcycle Diaries) ventures into the slums of Sao Paolo for this poignant tale of a family coming apart at the seams, co-directed by Daniela Thomas...

JOAO BALDASSERINI as Denis, JOSE GERALDO RODRIGUES as Dinho KAIQUEDE JESUS SANTOS as Reginaldo, SANDRA CORVELONI as Cleuza and VINICIUS DE OLIVEIRA as Dario in Linha de Passe Taking its title from the offside rule in football, as well as a popular children's game of knock-about, Linha De Passe explores the shattered hopes and dreams of four brothers, who have grown up without a father figure.

Single mother Cleuza (Sandra Corveloni), a pregnant housemaid in danger of losing her job, struggles to keep control of her boys, especially the youngest, Reginaldo (Kaique de Jesus Santos), who is obsessed with tracking down his biological father. "Stop this obsession, my little Mike Tyson," pleads Cleuza, to no avail. Eldest child Denis (Joao Baldasserini) works as a motorcycle courier but is contemplating a life of crime to ensure he can pay child support. Dinho (Jose Geraldo Rodrigues) works at a gas station and seeks absolution at the local evangelical church, while talented footballer Dario (Vinicius de Oliveira) lies about his age to secure a try-out for the youth squad. Having falsified his identity card, Dario must impress a visiting scout to guarantee first-team play. "If you tip him it's a done deal," advises the coach. "Three thousand: take it or leave it." Of course, he doesn't have that sort of money but perhaps his natural talent will speak louder than cold, hard cash?

Partly improvised and cast predominantly with non-actors, Linha De Passe is an authentic and gritty portrait of life in the favelas for a group of young men who have been dealt poor hands their entire life, and the woman desperately trying to keep them on the straight and narrow. Opening with a shot of Cleuza sitting on the edge of a bed in obvious distress, the film flashes back then recounts the intertwined stories in monthly chapters. Compelling performances from the leads, especially the eminently watchable Corveloni, propel the film towards its surprisingly life-affirming conclusion, juxtaposing heartbreaking failure for one sibling with glory for another.

- Sam Cannon


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