Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
“Everyone had a story, even the quiet ones,” observes Cristiano (de Sousa), the rootless protagonist of Araby. It’ s from stories told by lovers, workmates, friends and passing acquaintances remembered from a life of itinerant labour that Cristiano strings together his own story – and this film distils its lyrical and moving picture of harsh lives fully lived.
Araby begins with André, a listless teenager living near a factory in the outskirts of Ouro Preto in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. When André finds a notebook kept by the recently hospitalised factory worker Cristiano, the film abruptly takes to the road, following Cristiano’ s stories from prison to one job then another, from one makeshift bed to the next.
“Like the Townes Van Zandt song that opens the film, Araby becomes a deeply felt ballad of the drifting life, devoid of sentimentality but long on empathy... [and] an utterly convincing record of a young worker discovering himself through writing. While many filmmakers claim to give voice to the marginal, few have done so with the artistic and political sensitivity displayed in Araby.”— Nicholas Elliott, Film Comment
“This is a seemingly ‘small’ film which tackles the biggest of issues with a beguiling can-do, freewheeling spirit... [The filmmakers] effortlessly capture the intoxicating spirit of the open road that draws the protagonist from job to job, pal to pal, town to town...Araby... has the truly rare capacity to inspire and energize with the optimistic sense that nothing is truly impossible.”— Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter