Florianopolis (known to locals simply as Floripa) is considered Brazil’s dreamiest paradise island. I had the opportunity to visit two years ago on a surf camp holiday and instantly fell in love with the island’s postcard-perfect beaches, bustling markets, picturesque oyster farms, celebrated sushi restaurants, and bohemian design shops.
Film fans in town for TIFF have the opportunity to fly into Floripa at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival as Argentine writer-director Ana Katz’s Florianopolis Dream arrives for its North American premiere.
Florianopolis is located in southern Brazil and its close proximity to the border of Argentina makes it a popular road trip destination for beach lovers from Buenos Aires. In Florianopolis Dream, Ana Katz shares a hilarious and heart-wrenching tale of a family who embark on a Brazilian beach holiday in hopes that a few weeks in paradise will offer an unforgettable bonding experience.
We first meet the bickering quartet when their car runs out of gas on a rural road. Soon after they’re greeted by a friendly local who helps them into the city and insists they stay at his holiday home on a remote stretch of beach.
Unlike the majority of funny family holiday genre films Florianopolis Dream reveals a more sensitive side. Soon after our family has settled into their holiday house both parents reveal to their host that they are separated. The instant eye-rolls offered by their two teens makes it clear that the purpose of their holiday is a last attempt at keeping the two parents together.
Florianopolis Dream in its entirely feels like a coming of age film for a family. Lucrecia (Mercedes Moran) indulges in a fling with her handsome host while her husband Pedro (Gustavo Garzon) develops feelings for his wife, an athletic swimmer who runs an al fresco bar on the beach. The audience watches in anticipation as the two parents find a new path in paradise, realizing that the ebb and flow of romantic waves on the beach can’t always wash away past pains.
While Lucrecia and Pedro’s relationship is unraveling, their two teens have an opportunity to explore their newfound adulthood in inspiring ways. Their son, constantly chatting about wanting to visit a nearby beach, finally takes it upon himself to plan his first solo adventure. While their opinionated daughter quickly falls in love with a local boy who woos her with his guitar and offers another unexpected romance for a family who is both growing up and growing apart simultaneously.