GABRIEL AND THE MOUNTAIN (GABRIEL AND THE MOUNTAIN) (director/writer: Fellipe Barbosa; screenwriters: Lucas Paraizo/Kirill Mikhanovskiy; cinematographer: Pedro Sotero; editor: Théo Lichtenberger; music: Arthur B. Gillette; cast: João Pedro Zappa (Gabriel Buchmann), Caroline Abras (Cristina); Runtime: 127; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Rodrigo Letier, Roberto Berliner, Clara Linhart, Yohann Cornu; Strand Releasing; 2017-France-in Portuguese, Swahili, English, French with English subtitles)
“It tells the tragic true story of a young Brazilian backpacker.”Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz It tells the tragic true story of a young Brazilian backpacker Gabriel Buchmann (João Pedro Zappa) who before he enrolls in the graduate program at UCLA decides to travel for a year through several African countries so he can better understand poverty. At the last leg of his journey, in 2009, he dies in Kenya while climbing Mount Mulanje in Malawi. The film covers the last months of his life. Brazilian filmmaker Fellipe Barbosa’ (“Casa Grande”) observant film about his schoolboy friend uses the leads as professional actors while the remaining cast are non-professionals. The screenplay is written by him, Lucas Paraizo and Kirill Mikhanovskiy. At Cannes in 2017, it won the France 4 Visionary Award and the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award. The location photography gives it a great travelog look, especially the visits to Mount Kilimanjaro and Mulanje’s Sapitwa Peak. In one scene a Kenyan boy calls him “mzungu,” a derogatory term for “white man.” Buchmann weakly replies “I’m Brazilian, I’m not white.” The boy’s retort is that “Here, you are white.” Gabriel’s girlfriend Cristina (Caroline Abras) visits him in Dar es Salaam and accompanies him for part of his journey. But he tires of her and stubbornly shows more of an interest in his political beliefs. A kind woman they meet in Zamia thinks they make a good pair, when asked by him. But the couple go from tender moments to spats, and she leaves as he goes to climb his mountain. The director-friend tries his best to make sense of the tragedy and his friend’s search for truth. But the overlong film, though a satisfying watch, could have been better edited and would have done better without so much frivolous commentary.
REVIEWED ON 11/20/2018 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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