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Casa Grande

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Casa Grande (Casa Grande)

Directed by Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa

  • Brazil 2014; 114 min
  • Original version: Portuguese
  • Genre: Drama
    • Prix du Public La Dépêche du Midi, Prix FIPRESCI, Prix Découverte de la Critique - CinéLatino
    • Audience Award for Best Feature Film - Rio IFF
    • Best Editing - Janela IFF

  • From the director of GABRIEL AND THE MOUNTAIN presented at CineMart

Synopsis

Jean (17) is growing up in the elite district of Rio, with its private schools, drivers and housekeepers. While he tries to escape from his over-protective parents, they keep their approaching bankruptcy secret. This beautifully played coming-of-age film provides a clear picture of class differences and racism.
The big house of the title is indeed a very large one in a chic neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, where Jean lives with his younger sister and parents. Naturally, there is also staff: a driver and two housekeepers. Jean is in his last year at secondary school, has to choose what to study and is busy with girls, his appearance and nightlife - as he should be. Above this well-organised and elitist world, dark clouds gather when it becomes apparent that his dad, without informing his children, has nearly used up all his money.
This first fiction feature by Fellipe Barbosa, who previously made it clear with the documentary Laura that he had an excellent eye for the customs of the New York upper class, provides a sharply drawn and authentic picture of growing up among the elite of Rio. He also reveals himself to be an excellent narrator who regards his characters both critically and lovingly, with subtle detail; worried parents, unconcerned maidservant, girlfriend from a different class, a sister no one listens to.
While looking at grand and topical themes such as class differences and racism, CASA GRANDE is nonetheless also very personal and partly autobiographical. The cast, acting naturally and comprising a well chosen mix of TV stars and non-professional actors, clearly are enjoying their work.

Director's Statement

Casa Grande, or The Ballad of Poor Jean is my first narrative feature. It’s an extremely personal film, since it portrays the world in which I grew up and from which I tried to escape. My main intention was to tell a great story, focusing on characters and their relationships, set in a very specific and authentic universe. I worked with non-professional teenage actors alongside soap opera stars, whose image connects with the characters in the film. Besides the naturalism in the performances, I strived for a formal rigor, through the repetition of familiar shots, which gradually narrate the transformation of the big house. The project went through the Sundance screenwriters and directors lab in 2008, where it won the Annenberg Foundation Grant, and was a finalist of the NHK award.

Production

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International Sales

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