2575 Bancroft Way (Between College and Telegraph)
Berkeley, California CA

(Sonhos de peixe). Like the crabs that scuttle across the beachfront where he works as a deep-sea diver and woos his girlfriend Ana during sand-blown snuggles, seventeen-year-old Jusce crawls backwards, seeing but unable to reach a future beyond the socioeconomic confines of his impoverished fishing village in the northeast of Brazil. A charming and ambitious orphan who's had to grow up too fast, Jusce dreams of sailing his own boat far from home in search of a better life with Ana, a tempestuous flirt who divides her attention among our plucky hero, hot-stuff dune-buggy driver Rogério, and nightly episodes of O beijo do pecado, the telenovela that holds the entire village in its melodramatic thrall. Scoring cash by diving nearly 100 feet below the choppy ocean surface to illegally catch stingrays and lobsters—a perilous profession that claimed his father's life and might well lead to his own watery grave—Jusce, in a tragicomic effort to win over soap-addicted Ana for good, blows his savings on a giant-screen TV. Escapism proves fleeting, however, and Jusce must dive even deeper to find a way out. Proving himself a natural storyteller with a documentarian's eye for workaday realism, Kirill Mikhanovsky garners remarkably believable performances from his cast of nonprofessionals, and peoples his wonderfully detailed narrative with engaging minor characters including Ana's expletive-spewing terror of a mother. With a propulsive score of Brazilian pop and snatches of Bach on the radio, and with an indelible final scene anchored by hope and folly, desperation and determination, Fish Dreams submerges its indomitable protagonist in hot water but emerges in the spirit of his frequently uttered phrase: tudo bem.

—Steven Jenkins

• Written by Mikhanovsky. Photographed by Andrij Parekh. With José Maria Alves, Rubia Rafaelle, Chico Diaz, Phellipe Haagensen. (111 mins)

Official Website: http://bampfa.berkeley.edu/film/FN16430

Added by andreibad on April 26, 2007

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