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Movie Review: The Year My Parents Went on Vacation

Alternate Title: It Takes a Village

Story: When you are 12 years old it is impossible to understand the complexities of a military dictatorship or the sudden 'disappearance' of adults that you know. It is especially hard when, at the same time, your home country, Brazil, is going to the 1970 World Cup. Young Mauro's politically active parents fear for their safety and drop Mauro at his grandfather's while they go 'on vacation'. Unbeknownst to the parents, the grandfather died the very day they drop him off. Mauro is taken in by Schlomo and eventually the entire small Jewish community in Sao Paolo.

Director Cao Hamburger does a wonderfully warm detailed job depicting the day to day lives of this diverse community. Hamburger's personal life is resonated throughout this tale of exile, alienation, community and family. The coming of age tale is warm, funny, deadly serious and will draw you into its heart. The international language of soccer brings all of these communities together in this film that mixes politics and tenderness together. Goooooooooooal!

Acting: First time actor Michel Joelsas as Mauro is simply wonderful. Young Hanna played by Daniela Piepszyk has a face that you want to pinch. Shlomo is played by Germano Haiut perfectly. The rest of this diverse cast adds to the charm of the film.

Predilection: None

Critters: One guard dog

Food: Lots and lots of food. It is a Jewish community, no?

Sex Spectrum: No time for sex - just for soccer.

Soundtrack: A nice range of ethnic music.

Visual Art: Attention to detail was great including the art and photos in all of the apartments.

Theater Audience: One young man in the first row and me.

Weather: It is summer in Sao Paolo.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Military dictatorships are brutal. While the film does not focus on this - the fear factor is present.

Drift Factor: It could have been shortened by about 15 minutes.

Predictability Level: Moderate

Tissue Usage: I admit to some welling at the end.

Oscar Worthy: It was entered but did not get a nod.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: A bit under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 7