LFF Review: Araby

The global financial crisis destroyed lives, wrecked families and impacted on billions of people around the world. However, there is not group, as is always the case, that were harder hit than the poor. Whilst much of the media focus was on banks and multi-national corporations, scant regard was paid to the working-classes around the world. In Araby, writers/directors João Dumans and Affonso Uchoa tell the story of an ordinary Brazilian man in a novel and inventive way.

Andre (Murilo Caliari) is a boy living in an industrial neighbourhood in Ouro Preto, Brazil. When Fortyish Cristiano (Aristides de Sousa), a worker at a nearby aluminium factory, is incapacitated by an accident at work, Andre discovers a journal whilst clearing out his locker. After being encouraged to write about his life whilst a member of a theatre group in another factory, the ex-convict documents his decade-long travels across the country in search of work. Along the way he encounters mistreatment, death, love and retribution.

Araby is powerful and moving tale about the little people. Those Brazilians who struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet, but whose labour keeps the country running. Dumans and Uchoa create an intricate and multi-layered tale of the life and loves of an ordinary worker and those he meets along the way. It’s a social and political commentary of a modern day industrial power and the polarisation and inequality prevalent in most developing nations. Araby is a mature, touching and profound piece of social film-making.

Araby screens at London Film Festival on 13 & 15 October.

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