The Violin Teacher

Brazil submitted "Tudo Que Aprendemos Juntos" (English captions), an award-winning entry to the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. Based on a true story, we see a classically trained violin maestro accept a temporary position with the city of Heliopolis to teach music to some teens from the favelas (shantytowns).

Director Sérgio Machado brings us an appealing cast to tell a story about a group of would-be musicians trying to play on school-provided instruments, even though they haven't learned how to read music yet. They are defiant and unruly (they call him "Obama"). Our former child prodigy is out of his depth...

The cast:
  • Lázaro Ramos - Laerte knows music, but he certainly does NOT understand children who have grown up in this environment.
  • Kaique Jesus - Samuel has talent and he knows right from wrong.
  • Elzio Vieira - VR has picked up a risky "trade" to make ends meet.
  • Sandra Corveloni - Alzira is principal of this public high school. She is generous and eager to see her students embrace music.
  • Fernanda De Freitas - Bruna starts by singing a bawdy version of "Twinkle, twinkle little star.
This one has all the components, a dedicated musician on hard times, appealing teenagers we want to see set straight, lovely music, a success story, and an interesting cityscape. One riot was inexplicably accompanied by a classical piano piece, but all in all, it was nicely done; it just didn't "grab" me like I expected. I didn't dislike it, but I wasn't transported.