Long Way Home
Grace Passô, Russo Apr, Rejane Faria, Hélio Ricardo,
An ode to camaraderie and an affectionate portrait of his hometown, André Novais Oliveira’s second feature chronicles Contagem’s endemic disease control crew, who mitigate the spread of Dengue fever by inspecting properties to identify the conditions in which mosquitos breed. The story revolves around Juliana (played by one of the new Brazilian cinema’s brightest stars, Grace Passô), a new member of the team, who has relocated from Itaúna—some forty miles away—for the job. Taciturn but affable, Juliana gradually gets to know her coworkers without revealing her own troubles. Never distracting from what is in front of the camera, Wilssa Esser’s cinematography brings a formal elegance to the film, highlighting the distinctive character of the city, from its rolling topography to the architecture of its rooftops, courtyards, and modest interiors. Scenes of work, intimate conversations, and leisure are punctuated with sequences accompanied by lilting clarinet music. Economic precarity and the looming threat of illness and violence are balanced by friendship and hospitality as the resilient Juliana finds her voice in an unfamiliar place.