Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

The Year My Parents Went on Vacation

The Year My Parents Went on Vacation
Roberto Benigni, Michel Joelsas, Germano Haiut and Daniela Piepszyk

Rated: PG 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: February 15 , 2008 Released by: City Lights Films

There's a similar heartwarming feeling to this new Brazilian picture that permeated Life Is Beautiful and its endearing star, Roberto Benigni.

The Year My Parents Went On Vacation (in Portuguese/Yiddish/German) with English subtitles pleasingly presents political strife and sentiment.

In 1970, authority in Brazil had been assumed by radicals with civil liberties left by the wayside.

Cao Hamburger's film focuses on young Mauro (Michel Joelsas) whose leftist parents are "on vacation" from the country's secret police.

Mauro's abruptly off to share residence at a high-rise flat with his grandpa in Sao Paulo. But, more troubling news comes for the boy when the old man suffered a fatal heart attack while toiling as a barber.

A neighbor, Shlomo (Germano Haiut), an aging Jew, invites the boy in and is surprised when he finds out who he is. The culture and social disparity allows for a relationship to develop. And, the convincing Joelsas and Haiut have a winning rapport. Also, a sweet scene-stealing performance comes from Daniela Piepszyk as Mauro's new tomboy friend, Hanna.

The tale is set against Brazil's road to capturing the World Cup when Pele captained the team. Without getting too emotional, there is plenty of energy within the dissonant events to make it enjoyable to spend with Mauro.

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