Linha De Passe (3 stars)

Linha De Passe


(15) 113min

The title, Linha de Passe, refers to a Brazilian game where the players attempt to pass a football to one another without it touching the ground. Yet the phrase also echoes the dramatic structure of this São Paulo-set film, which observes the everyday struggles of four half-brothers and their single pregnant mother Cleuza (Sandra Corveloni).

Whilst the latter works as a maid for a wealthy family, 18-year-old Dario (Vinícius de Oliveira from Central Station) aspires to being signed up by a professional football team, although the competition is fierce and coaches routinely expect bribes from the hopefuls. Dinho (José Geraldo Rodrigues) has a job at a petrol station and is a committed member of a Pentecostal church, and the eldest sibling Denis (João Baldasserini) attempts to support his child on his motorcycle courier earnings. Meanwhile, the youngest Reginaldo (Kaique Jesus Santos) is obsessed with tracking down his father, who is apparently a bus driver.

Co-directed by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries, Dark Water) and Daniela Thomas (Guns and Peace, Midnight) the gritty Linha de Passe offers a rejoinder to the nihilistic Brazilian guns-and-drugs sagas that have followed in the wake of the pioneering City of God. For the most part eschewing violence, the filmmakers allow their characters a degree of agency in their lives, despite the formidable obstacles in their selective paths. The schematic nature of the screenplay is offset by the impressive use of authentic locations across the sprawling, traffic-choked city and the credibility of the performances from the mainly non-professional cast.

GFT, Glasgow & Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 19 Sep.

Linha de Passe

  • 3 stars
  • 2008
  • Brazil
  • 1h 53min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas
  • Written by: Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas, Bráulio Mantovani
  • Cast: Sandra Corveloni, João Baldasserini, Vinícius de Oliveira, José Geraldo Rodrigues, Kaique Jesus Santos

The everyday struggles of four half-brothers and their single pregnant mother Cleuza (Corveloni) in São Paulo are the order of the day, complete with a search for a father and aspirations to be a footballer from 18-year-old Dario (de Oliveira). Less nihilistic than the 'City of God'-like guns-and-drugs sagas, a mainly…