Director: Lucia Marat
Almost Brothers is an ambitious film by filmmaker Lucia Murat. With the realism of a documentary, she explores the racism bubbling beneath the surface of Brazil's cultural pluralism, and the difficulty of social change. The film is set in three distinct periods - the 1950s, 1970s and 2004 - the action of the latter two periods captured through flashbacks. The story chronicles the lives of Miguel and Jorge, childhood friends whose lives take very different paths. Miguel is from a white, middle-class family, and the young, black Jorge shares nothing of his social and economic privilege. But their friendship is established through Miguel's liberal father, who has a passion for samba music - Jorge's father is an accomplished musician. During the 70s, the pair is incarcerated for 10 years in the Ilha Grande Jail. In a world racially divided, blacks are locked up largely for common crimes, while the whites are overwhelmingly political prisoners. Thirty years on and Miguel is an optimistic senator. He visits Jorge, now a drug lord operating from the prison, in the hope he can help fight the gangs in Rio's favelas (slums).