First time I heard about police violence in Latin America was when Mario, my fellow exchange student in Norway, blew our minds by talking about it. We were supposed to have a workshop about cultural learnings or something like that for two hours, but instead, we were listening to him talk more than any of us had ever heard him talk — he could barely speak English back then, but that didn’t stop him. It was intense. He spoke about the police being so corrupt that it hurts, how dehumanised they are, how the poor are treated as trash. This film, cleverly titled, is a testimony to that side of Brazil.
Trash is Mario. It is as captivating, as interesting, as powerful as his stories were. Whenever he slipped or was fumbling for a word was the only time we interrupted. It feels the same with TRASH — when the film stumbles around the middle, you’d just want to take Raphael’s hand (one of the main characters in the film, an intense kid. I love him so much!), help him up and ask for him to go on with the story. TRASH takes your breath away. I wish I could go and hug the film, assure that it’s doing the right thing, that it’s gorgeous, and ask for it to go on.
Because that’s what it is. Gorgeous. TRASH wins everything by being authentic: it resists the urge to patronize, instead we see fourteen year olds swimming in something that might burn your skin and laugh. The entire film is so colourful, so vivacious that it hurts. This enormous contrast with the emotion this film evokes — exhaustion, fatigue, it’s a risk, but it works out well for TRASH as where the film itself stumbles, the visuals and the fantastic score flow and take the center stage.
The ending must be the most beautiful thing about the film. It is what gets TRASH to haunt you, drags out the tear that you so ardously held on to for the entire film, that gives you hope that yes, you could be Rooney Mara or Martin Sheen and you would make a difference; just not before Brazilian kids who live in trash pull a feat that changes everything.
In case you didn’t know yet, I am a critic for a film festival (Dark Nights’ Film Festival’s subfestival JustFilm) for the following two weeks and I have the amazing chance to see any film I want. I will use it as well as I can and try to translate a few reviews for this blog here and there, too. It’s day 2 and I’m already loving the experience!