Linha de Passe

Critics Consensus

A gritty portrayal of modern day family life in Sao Paulo , with vividly drawn characters and an uncompromising resolution.

76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 751
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Movie Info

Motorcycle Diaries director Walter Salles Jr. helms this story of a band of brothers intent on getting out of the Brazilian ghetto in a Media Rights Capital production. Co-directing is Daniela Thomas, from a script she wrote with George Moura (Moro No Brasil) and Salles. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Linha de Passe

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (5)

  • It is as authentic as Salles and Thomas can make it even if it sometimes seems that, apart from the football angle, we have seen it all before. But if you haven't, then it's a real eye-opener.

    Sep 19, 2008
  • The curse of modern Brazilian cinema, it increasingly seems, is that every film reminds us of City of God while none measures up to it.

    Sep 19, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Where most pictures about families end with huggy closure, this one ends in splinters, in pain, and with five different kinds of sudden, desperate hope.

    Sep 19, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Heartfelt, well acted and confidently shot. But it is frustrating, because of a creeping reliance on favela-drama mannerisms and a culpable failure to think up an ending.

    Sep 19, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Ultimately, there is an optimism to the film, albeit one that is tempered by the poignancy of lives shadowed by São Paulo's harsh indifference.

    Sep 19, 2008 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Salles and Thomas's movie contains some extraordinary moments and its fine editing injects a dynamic cross-cutting energy.

    Sep 19, 2008 | Rating: 4/6 | Full Review…

    Wally Hammond

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Linha de Passe

  • Sep 26, 2009
    more brazilian strife. minimal and very believable.
    steve c Super Reviewer
  • Mar 04, 2009
    Engaging tale of 4 brothers' struggles to find themselves in the unforgiving maelstrom of Sao Paulo. The action sequences (especially the football) are shot with real dynamism and the ending is left bravely open but the themes are well worn.
    Gordon A Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2009
    Coach: "<i>You've got a lot of nerve, kid! Throw this ID away or you'll end up in jail.</i> Dario: <i>You saw me play. Give me a chance, coach.</i> Coach: <i>You play well, but there's lots like you and they're only 15. Time is tough on an athlete.</i>" <a href="http://s172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/EarthlyAlien/?action=view¤t=08248152.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w25/EarthlyAlien/08248152.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a> Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas' <i>Linha de Passe</i>, the second collaboration between both filmmakers, follows four young fatherless brothers being raised in Brazil by their mother, who's pregnant with a fifth child she will raise on her own. The film is a follow-up of sorts to <i>Foreign Land</i>, which Salles and Thomas made 12 years ago, in 1996, and like that film, <i>Linha de Passe</i> focuses on youth, movement and change. Salles and Thomas use the lives of these brothers - Dênis (João Baldasserini), the oldest, who is one of some 300,000 bike couriers transversing the crowded streets of Brazil; Dario (Vínicius de Oliveria), a talented football player who, like millions of Brazilian kids, hopes to use his skill at the game as a path to a better life; Dinho (José Geraldo Rodrigues), who seeks escape by joining an evangelical church; and youngest brother Reginaldo (Kaique de Jesus Santos), who spends his days riding buses around the city, searching for his father. Salles and Thomas focus on the lives of these brothers to reflect on Brazilian society and the changes that have taken place there in the 12 years since they made <i>Foreign Land</i>. During that time, the dictatorship was overthrown, a president was elected who immediately eliminated funding for the arts, effectively shutting down filmmaking in Brazil for four years, and Brazil's cities, particularly São Paulo, where the film is set, grew exponentially with little civic planning or control. São Paulo's population has doubled in ten years, creating a culture where jobs are scarce, especially for young people, and for young men like these brothers, growing up in the poor working class, there are few paths out for those who choose not to pursue a life of crime, with football and evangelism offering a light at the end of the tunnel for some. The directors show through their story the lack of choices facing Brazil's young people and its consequent results, but the tone of the film is also hopeful. The brothers are resilient, they are strong, they keep fighting. The title of the film, <i>Linha de Passe</i>, comes from an expression used in football, but also a children's game played by four kids, where the object is to kick the ball back and forth without passing it. The four brothers are, figuratively, struggling to keep the ball from dropping, to stay in the game, and to be seen as valued members of society. Salles weaves the theme of fatherlessness throughout all his films; with some 28% of children in Brazil being raised by single mothers, he and Thomas clearly feel this issue is emblematic of many of the problems facing Brazilian society. Cleuza (Sandra Corveloni), the mother, struggles to raise her sons without paternal guidance. She's often supportive and loving, sometimes exasperated, but always seeking to help her sons find their path through life. On another level, the film addresses issues of race within Brazilian culture; the youngest brother, Reginaldo, is black, while his brothers are fair-skinned, and his search for his father is very much a search for his own self-identity and a sense of belonging. The character of Reginaldo was based on a true story from Brazil about a 14-year-old boy who rode the buses around Brazil in search of his father, finally stealing a bus one day and leading police on a chase in an effort to gain attention from the father who'd abandoned him. The characters in the film are always moving, moving ... Denis trekking through the dangerous traffic as a courier, Dario on the football field, Dinho in his search for acceptance and salvation within the community of his church, and Reginaldo, endlessly riding the buses. Salles and Thomas evoke motion visually with "guerilla filmmaking" - they had to shoot much of the film with cameras mounted on motorbikes, weaving in and out of traffic jams to film the bike scenes, and following the motion on the football pitch with handheld cameras. This gives the film a sense of restlessness, of a constant struggle to swim upstream. Dario, having reached the age of 18, has missed the window of opportunity to move ahead in Brazil's highly competitive junior football leagues, and seeks to find a way onto a professional team so that he can keep playing, while Dinho's faith is challenged by a series of events that cause him to question his own path. Salles and Thomas masterfully portray the issues underlying Brazilian society without being too heavy-handed with the social politics; here are four brothers, they say, and these are their stories. They weave all the pieces together into a coherent fabric that brings the story life and keeps the audience engaged in the lives of these boys and their mothers. We care about them and what happens to them and thus, by extension, come to a better understanding of the issues as a whole. Vinícius de Oliveria, who plays Dario, is the only actual professional actor in the film. You might remember him as the kid from Salles' <i>Central Station</i>. A football player himself, he trained for four years in a São Paulo football league in order to play his role. The rest of the cast are making their feature film debuts, which is quite remarkable when you consider the performances Salles and Thomas elicit from their inexperienced cast. Sandra Corveloni went on to win the Best Actress award at Cannes last year. The directors also chose to staff the film with a young crew; Salles has said in an interview that they "wanted the film to reflect the idea of youth and opportunity from the bottom up." In spite of the young crew, or perhaps because Salles and Thomas mentored them so adeptly, the cinematography by Mauro Pinheiro Jr. and editing by Gustavo Giani are first-rate as well. The only other element of experience comes in the form of Gustavo Santaolalla's beautifully moody score. <i>Linha de Passe</i> is a moving, engaging film by two filmmakers who know what they have to say and how they want to say it. The film is part of a larger project; Salles and Thomas plan to follow the changes in Brazilian youth and society at 12 year intervals, making four more films together exploring similar themes. If the next four are as good as <i>Linha de Passe</i>, we have much to look forward to.
    Pedro P Super Reviewer

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