Foreground of a tender film for the working class of Brazil – The Hollywood Reporter

If you told me that director Gabriel Martins only thought with images, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Mars One, his gracefully calm observation of a Brazilian working-class family, is filled with eye-catching photographs. Take for example Tércia, the matriarchal wife played by Rejane Faria, cleaning a window: Her curly bleached blonde hair remains motionless as her right hand glides over the glass, her back muscles flexing to meet the heavy workload. hard work. Or the scene where her daughter Eunice (Camilla Damião) is in love with her girlfriend on the floor of an empty penthouse. Her dark skin glittered on the crisp white tiled floor as her lover’s pale blue braids slid across her skin. These scenes are occasion – positive flashes of the director’s lovely preoccupation with his story. And who wouldn’t be haunted by such a humane, well-calibrated story?

Mars One (Marte Um)

Key point

A striking family portrait.

Release date: Thursday, January 5 (Netflix)
Cast: Cícero Lucas, Carlos Francisco, Camilla Damiao, Rejane Faria, Russo Apr
Director-screenwriter: Gabriel Martins

1 hour 55 minutes

Mars One, which premiered at Sundance in 2022 and is now thanks to ARRAY streaming on Netflix, starting with the election of Jair Bolsonaro. The political event set a somber tone for many Brazilians as the leader’s ascent raised fears of authoritarianism. In the opening scenes, supporters cheer from afar while Deivid (Cícero Lucas), Tércia’s young son, loses a tooth and stares into the starry night sky. Mars One marked by the side-by-side positions that make up everyday life: big political moments and small personal victories; noisy victories and silent defeats; big days and cruel days. The film explores the possibilities that lie within these contrasts; it is a beautiful exercise in hope and optimism.

“What,” Martins asked in a press release to critics, “what might a Black family in Brazil today be?” Bolsonaro’s presidency – defined by exclusion, racism and homophobia – has threatened this progress. (He hired a racism denier for the government agency tasked with preserving Brazil’s Black culture and appointed an anti-abortion Protestant minister as Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights, for example.) a story that respects the intelligence of its characters and viewers. His focus is on articulating the wishes and dreams that make up our little existence.

Family in Mars One — Tércia, her husband Wellington (Carlos Francisco), their children — are at the center of this experiment. Each has unresolved issues from the chaos of election cycles. Tércia overcomes the stress of being entangled in a disturbing reality TV joke, one that makes her feel cursed and distrustful of the world. Eunice, wanting to be independent, must accept how her new relationship and desire to move out will come to her family. Wellington, a recovering alcoholic who works as a pool cleaner in a luxury apartment, raises hopes of Deivid becoming a footballer. On the other hand, Deivid is passionate about the Mars colonization project and dreams of going to space.

The portraits of family members are clearly delineated, and Martins nicely weaves the individual’s progress into the fabric of their shared challenges. Dinner conversations or a game of cards give us a chance to observe Wellington’s duality — how a submissive man at work turns into an overbearing patriarch. His obsession with Deivid hosting the national football tournament distracts him from Tércia’s silence on the table — an unusual silence caused by her growing anxiety and paranoia. she.

These scenes also help us understand the family dynamics, the delicate loyalty formed between Deivid and Eunice, who spend hours confiding to each other instead of sleeping. Outstanding performances are key to Martins’ film success; there’s an ease to the onscreen dynamics, making it easy to invest in the core warmth of this fictional family.

Mars One does not draw any dramatic conclusions about Brazil’s political present and future, but politics still plays a role in the lives of the main characters. Eunice’s first scenes at school capture a lecture on important states, touching on violence in America that doesn’t respect them. Their conversation highlights the growing gap between the rich and the working class. In another scene, Wellington and Tércia are peering through the bills at their dinner table to devise a money-saving strategy. It’s an all-too-rare on-screen moment that underscores Martins’ other directing power: his ability to engage with pressing economic issues as an integral part of the story rather than through the edges. dilemma.

Martins’ films model the way working-class stories are told (which we, in America, desperately need). For American audiences, it offers an alternative to the glut of class-conscious films that seem only to be interested in poking fun at the rich. Mars One enjoy the lives of the characters in it, walking the leisurely and beautiful path to understanding their dreams and reality.


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