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Shameless insight into life on mean streets of Sao Paulo

PUBLISHED: 14:44 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:24 07 September 2010

Linha de Passe (15) Directors Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas. Starring Sandra Corveloni, Vinicius de Oliveira, Joao Baldasserini, Jose Geraldo Rodriques, Kaiquede Jesus Santos. 113 mins Three star rating If you re a regular movie goer, you ll probabl

Linha de Passe (15) Directors Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas.

Starring Sandra Corveloni, Vinicius de Oliveira, Joao Baldasserini, Jose Geraldo Rodriques, Kaiquede Jesus Santos.

113 mins

Three star rating

If you're a regular movie goer, you'll probably have more of an insight into the lives and aspiration of the Brazilian underclass than you do of those living all around you. After the recent successes of the City of God crew in Rio, the original master Walter Salles returns to the subject, paired this time with occasional collaborator Thomas.

The focus is shifted to Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, where Clueza (Corveloni) is a single mother who has accrued a varied selection of sons from an assortment of absent fathers and is now expecting a fifth addition to her collection.

Salles' international reputation is based on a couple of road movies, Central Station and The Motorcycle Diaries, but here he shows he can do urban. He and Thomas really get cities, really get people, and how the two interact. Within the first five minutes, the viewer is immersed in Sao Paulo life - the hold of football, the desperation, the uneasy co-existence between rich and poor. The plot line is vaguely Shameless but the sweep is that of a Michael Mann film.

It's skilful stuff but the economy and speed with which the film communicates is also a problem because two thirds of the way through, you've really gotten everything you need from the film. Salles and Thomas don't want to cheat their characters with melodramatic conclusion but in the last half hour or so you're hanging around waiting for not much to happen.

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