The opening scenes of a young man freely coasting on his bicycle with a captivating green mountain vista behind him belies the more than hour and a half slow moving gloom that follows.
Going up and down hills with an American song track in the background, he eventually arrives at home. It is poorly lit, no frills, and in the shadow of the aluminum processing plant of Ouro Preto, in the mining industry region of Minas Gerais, Brazil. His doe-faced younger brother has a cough, is out of medicine, and seems quite young to have M.I.A. parents. This younger brother tells us what we really need to know about the landscape, remarking that given all the death and gloom in life, it is much easier to believe in the devil than in God.
Ovid.tv ARABY is the Story of Working to Death
Aside from the young man’s bicycle peddling, nothing in this town or story happens quickly, save the unexpected death of a worker from the processing plant whom the young man casually knew. ARABY is actually the story of this dead man, Cristiano, told through the words of his journal that the young man discovers when he is dispatched to collect the now dead man’s things.
From prison, to unpaid farm work, to one backbreaking laborer job to the next, we follow Cristiano’s life, or rather existence. Other than the collegiality and shared song here or there with fellow worker, there isn’t much room for anything other than work-til-you-drop day-after-day. It’s not a life that allows much space for joy or for love, as we and he come to learn. Cristiano’s life moves slowly, as does the story. When we hear Lula’s name mentioned it comes as no surprise that these characters are his constituents. For this writer, the slow moving trek from one moment of drear to the next could also be an infomercial for Lula’s workers’ rights driven political campaign. The power of ARABY is multiplied many times over by the camera’s close ups of the many actors who seem to be the people of their characters—especially mesmerizing lead Aristides de Sousa.
If you seek an action flick this isn’t for you. If you like slice of life stories and especially if you are of a workers’ rights political persuasion this is a top pick.
About the Author:
Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.
Amy hopes the magazine’s click-a-picture-to-read-a-vivid-account format will nourish those ever hunting for under-discovered cultural treasures. She especially loves writing articles about travel finds, showcasing works by cultural warriors of a progressive bent, and shining a light on bold, creative strokes by fledgling artists in all genres.