I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.
Title: Mars One
Release Date: 20 January 2022
Director: Gabriel Martins
Production Company: Filmes de Plástico and Brazilian public funding
This slice-of-life drama depicts a tumultuous period in the lives of a Black Brazilian family in Belo Horizonte just after the election of Jair Bolsonaro. The father Wellington (Carlos Francisco) is a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for four years and works as a landscaper and pool cleaner. He has aspirations for his children but doesn’t take into account their desires. Mother Tercia (Rejane Faria) is the family mediator, and also suffers from a trauma response after being caught in a TV practical joke show’s fake explosion. An ensuing series of misfortunes lead her to feel she is cursed. Daughter Eunice (Camilla Damião) is almost fully grown and begins a romantic relationship with another young woman, Joana (Ana Hilãrio). She worries about coming out to her conservative parents and considers moving out on her own. The younger child Deivinho (Cícero Lucas) is pushed by Wellington to excel at football, but actually desires to study astrophysics and participate in the Mars One mission.
Mars One is beautifully filmed and acted. Thee social realism is reminiscent of films like Sorry We Missed You, combining family drama with the damaging effects of capitalism and reactionary politics.