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The Year My Parents Went on Vacation

~ 15 Awards ~ including the Berlin Film Festival ~ Golden Bear

The year was 1970. Man had recently landed on the moon and Pelé had scored his one thousandth goal. In Brazil, times were turbulent and agitated. The end of the 60’s ushered in a military dictatorship that put the rights of all civilians in jeopardy. But 12 year-old Mauro was not concerned with such dilemmas. He had bigger fish to fry. He had the 1970 World Cup to look forward to, where Brazil was billed as the favourite. The Year My Parents Went On Vacation tells the story of a young boy whose parents, members of a left-wing militia, must go into hiding and leave him behind for his own safety. They decide to drop him off with his grandfather, an orthodox Jew who lives in the Jewish neighborhood of Bom Retiro in São Paulo. Upon being dropped off, Mauro finds out his grandfather has suddenly died, and he is forced to stay with his grandfather’s neighbour Schlomo. Stranded in an alien community with traditions he has never been exposed to before, Mauro feels lonely and estranged from everything that was once familiar to him – except for the World Cup and his beloved Brazilian national team. Director Cao Hamburger opts to focus on Mauro’s personal turmoil rather than on the tense political climate of the time. However, Hamburger cleverly allows the subtle political pressure to sit behind in the shadows, making for a great juxtaposition of emotions throughout. Mauro is overwhelmed with joy when the World Cup begins and he makes new friends in the community, but the fear of never seeing his parents again looms over him constantly. The mixture of sports and politics adds a phenomenal touch to a story that is, at its core, fundamentally about an outsider trying to fit in. The performances given by the actors playing Mauro and Schlomo are stunning and uplifting. The film shines with a presence of its own, as we see Mauro delight in being a boy and not having to always worry about the world of grown-ups. A brilliant film. – Francisco Saco, Slash Film
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Directed by: 
Cao Hamburger
Running Time: 
Portuguese with English subtitles
Michel Joelsas, Germano Haiut, Paulo Autran, Simone Spoladore
Screenplay by: 
Adriana Falcão, Claudio Galperin, Cao Hamburger, Bráulio Mantovani, Anna Muylaert

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