For those who remember the Brazilian film “Neighbouring Sounds” from several festivals ago, some of the themes in Casa Grande (directed by Felipe Barbosa ) will be familiar: a rich but decadent family spirals downward toward bankruptcy while the teenage son (Jean) breaks out of the overprotected family cocoon and steps into the world of social, racial and economic diversity in chaotic Rio de Janeiro.
This is a beautifully played coming of age story set within the complexity of social details like kidnapping hoaxes and quota systems (for minorities to gain access to better schools and opportunities). Lots of family deception, racist beliefs and household secrets are revealed from within this large, luxurious home – la casa grande. Shots of the father dramatically falling from a tree (while taking on the pruning tasks of the gardener he can no longer afford), or Jean walking out of his exam and descending an elaborate switchback walkway, visually articulate the family’s falling direction of the family’s descent from its upper class entitlements.In an online interview, the director says that this is the elite world that he he grew up in, and a similar social descent happened to his family while he was away studying in America. The movie is a strong and authentic personal statement about the topical themes of Brazilian class and racial differences, along with tantalizing glimpses into the contrasting layers of the city of Rio.
Saturday Sept 27, 1:30 pm RIO
Wednesday Oct 8, 4:15 pm RIO
Friday Oct 10, 9 pm SFU
Buy tickets here.