>> The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (2008)

Title: The Year My Parents Went on Vacation

Genre: Drama

Starring: Paulo Autran, Caio Blat, Simone Spoladore, Michel Joelsas, Germano Haiut

Studio: City Lights

Runtime: 105 Minutes

Release Date: July 15, 2008

Format: DVD

MPAA Rating: R

Rating: 3.29 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B

There are many sports films made in Hollywood that bring everyone together. Although The Year My Parents Went on Vacation, a Brazilian film, is not a pure sports flick, it shows a good example that the love of sports, and the coming-of-age are universal.

In 1970, soccer loving boy Mauro experiences a life changing event when his parents leave Mauro at his grandfather's apartment doorstep. The parents promise him that they will be back in time for the World Cup. However, his grandfather dies shortly before Mauro’s arrival. Now alone in the grandfather’s apartment located in a Jewish district, he has to take care of himself aided by grandpa's neighbors, mainly by the old Jewish man Shlomo. Mauro has no idea that his grandfather was Jewish, and Shlomo soon finds out that Mauro is a “goy”, and was raised in a non-Jewish household.

Mauro feels isolated and stuck in the strange place. However, when the World Cup finally comes, everyone, no matter young or old, Jewish or Christian, communist or socialist, celebrates and cheers for the national soccer team led by Pelé. For Mauro, it should also be the time to celebrate the return of his parents. Will they come back on time?

Mauro’s journey is an engaging one for viewers, and director Cao Hamburger did a marvelous job creating a nostalgic atmosphere. Throughout the movie, the director gives away many subtle hints and clues about Brazil’s political status in 1970, but a little bit more information about Mauro’s parents or socialist students would be ideal. The bond between Shlomo and Mauro shows how much the young boy learns and deals with the situation. I enjoyed Mauro’s transformation, but the ending somewhat lacks the complete closure of the story.

Special features are ordinary but nice to have for foreign movie standards - international and US trailers, and interviews with cast and crew. The extended scenes and outtakes are in Portuguese.

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