August 24, 2019
A low-budget road movie that’s been wowing critics for two years finally makes its UK debut, thanks to Mubi
Streaming: is the Brazilian film Araby the movie of the decade?
I was late getting to this week’s selected film – though not as late as film distributors in the UK: it has never been picked up for a cinema or even a DVD release. For more than two years, respected colleagues have been talking up the merits of Araby, a tiny but mighty fiction debut by Brazilian film-makers João Dumans and Affonso Uchoa. The Hollywood Reporter critic Neil Young has gone so far as to declare it the best film of this fast-closing decade. Having missed it on its year-long festival run in 2017, I waited for a chance to see it on a big screen.
That chance hasn’t come, but Mubi has, as it so often does, stepped into the breach. Araby is available to stream on their curated menu until mid-September; you’d do well to take the chance while it’s there. The film is, as promised, something very special: a careworn, will-o’-the-wisp road movie, contained within a memory that may or may not be imagined. Dumans and Uchoa have a documentary background that’s evident in their calm, clear-eyed portrait of a hard-knock life in permanent flux. Yet there’s a glimmering, uncertain magic to it too. It’s a film preoccupied with the way we fashion our lives into storytelling.
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