Directed by Fellipe Barbosa
Coming-of-age as rude awakening: one high school senior’s dawning sexuality is shadowed by the discovery of his upper-class white family’s looming financial ruin. Polished and penetrating, Casa Grande renders a sharp social canvas of contemporary Brazil through the eyes of young Jean (Thales Cavalcanti), who struggles with newfound knowledge of his racial and class privilege as he sweetly courts a mixed-race girl from a lower-ranked school than his, and sows his oats with the family’s nubile cinnamon-skinned maid. Jean’s parents, meanwhile, clutch at straws merely to survive. His father (Brazilian screen staple Marcello Novaes), a failed hedge-fund baron, tries vainly to conceal the true extent of the damage, as his formerly sheltered wife resorts to peddling cosmetics. An international audience favorite, Casa Grande has stirred lively, searching discussion among Brazilians of the often repressed realities of stubborn racial bias and stark income inequality.
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