The Year My Parents Went On Vacation Cao Hamburger

The Year My Parents Went On Vacation Cao Hamburger
The best coming-of-age stories weave together universal themes with individual stories. The audience must be able relate to the narrative — we all lose our innocence at some point or another –— but the filmmaker must also bring something unique to the table. Despite being set against the promising twin backdrops of the 1970 World Cup and Brazil’s brutal dictatorship, The Year My Parents Went On Vacation manages to feel like a by-the-numbers recreation of a dozen or so movies you’ve already seen. It’s enjoyable — the child actors are highly likeable and it moves surprisingly quickly for a film in which not a great deal actually happens — but it’s more pleasant than genuinely moving. The premise is simple and while predictable, still holds a lot of unfulfilled potential. When young Mauro’s (Michel Joelsas, plucked from 1,000 hopefuls for his first major film role) leftist parents are forced to go underground, he’s sent to live with his elderly, estranged paternal grandfather in São Paulo’s working-class Jewish suburb, Bom Retiro. Unfortunately, Zaidie unexpectedly dies that very morning and the half-Jewish Mauro is left to live with surrogate Zaidie Shlomo (Germano Haiut), a surly, elderly Orthodox Polish Jew who is initially horrified by his secular new charge but, naturally, grows to love the little goy. Other stuff happens too: Mauro befriends the neighbourhood token cool girl Hanna (Daniela Piepszyk), watches a woman undress through a peephole and witnesses repressive political violence firsthand as he waits in vain for his parents to return from their "vacation.” Ultimately the film is not particularly satisfying on a personal or a political level — we don’t learn anything new or insightful about Brazil’s totalitarian regime or, more importantly, as movies shouldn’t be history lessons, how it feels to come of age in a military dictatorship. Extras include the trailer and a ten-minute "making of.” (Mongrel Media)