By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
This particular entry from Brazil caught my attention right away as I perused the film line-up. Any film which celebrates a love for cinema will instantly get my attention. Because this film not only celebrates the passion and joy for movies, but also examines life and the joy of second chances, I had to award this movie a high rating. It definitely became one of my favorite entries of this year’s festival.
Written and directed by Iberê Carvalho, The Last Drive-In Theater tells the story of young Marlombrando (Breno Nina), a willful young man who, after his mother becomes very ill, decides to seek work at his estranged father’s old drive-in. Almeida (Othon Bastos), an equally stubborn man, barely clings to the remnants of a once booming business. He persists in showing to work everyday and projecting movies as long as he can hold on to the property. Marlombrando’s presence and threat of being forced to close help reinvigorate Almeida and his employees to work harder to keep the theater alive.
Carvalho has made a lovely and heartfelt portrait of a group of people who may have lost their lust for life, but have found a cause and purpose to work towards. This goal brings new life to Almeida and his family which galvanizes them to not give up under any circumstances. The movie offers feel-good material, but never gets overly corny or sappy. It is a genuine celebration of love and passion.