“The Year My Parents Went on Vacation” is a coming of age story by filmmaker Cao Hamburger that gives the viewer an enlightening look at the events in Brazil in 1970 through the eyes of Mauro, a twelve year old boy, who is consumed by soccer and Brazil’s world cup team. Mauro’s parents are on the run from Brazil’s government dictatorship. In order to keep him safe, his parents leave Mauro by his grandfather in the Sao Paulo district of Bom Retiro (a district known for its diverse communities living in harmony – including an orthodox Jewish community). Unbeknown to his parents, Mauro’s grandfather dies the day that Mauro arrives. Mauro is looked after by his grandfather’s neighbor an elderly orthodox Jewish man, who has a job in the local synagogue. Mauro is left in a strange community and district and must learn to survive on his own until his parents return for him.
The film depicts the struggles of Mauro as he tries to survive and regain the happiness that he once knew just as many Brazilians were struggling at the time within a government dictatorship. Yet, despite this struggle, individuals and the entire Brazilian country managed to escape the hardships of their lives, the politics of their country, and their cultural differences by focusing their attention on the triumphs of the national soccer team and world cup win. Despite its slow pace, viewers will certainly be enlightened about the struggle of one boy to survive his new predicament in life as well as get a taste of life in Brazil during this time.