Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
In this fast-moving and richly loaded Brazilian film, based on fact, 17-year-old Pierre is informed that he was kidnapped at birth and that the working-class woman who raised him is not his mother. He is obliged, with a modicum of counsellor intervention, to take up a new life with the middle-class family who have spent 17 years obsessed by his disappearance. His tentative explorations of sexual identity, closely observed by Muylaert but barely remarked upon by the mother he knew, prove deeply upsetting to the mother he didn’t. Brazilian writer/director Anna Muylaert (The Second Mother, NZIFF15) invigorates domestic drama with a potent mix of compassion, psychological acuity and humour to needle the fenced-in torpor of the Brazilian middle class and slyly approve of the unbridled energy of the disaffected.
“Working with a terrific cast – first-timer Nero is a real discovery – Muylaert makes all the traumatic twists in the story feel both natural and almost casual at times, as if we’re watching everyday people whose lives have suddenly been transformed into a telenovela plot. Using the relatively unknown Nefusi to play the role of both moms was also an excellent idea on the director’s part, adding another layer of confusion to the subject of parentage that lies at the heart of the film – whose original title translates to: ‘There’s Only One Mother’. If it could be so simple.” — Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter
“Were Anna Muylaert a man, she would be hailed in Brazil as the poster child for a new national cinema… [Her] films are the cinema that Brazil needs and that it deserves.” — Diego Semerene, Slant