Director Sérgio Machado tells the quietly engaging story of Laerte (Lázaro Ramos), a talented violinist who fails an audition for the Symphonic Orchestra of São Paulo (OSESP) and is forced to teach at a public school in Heliopolis, the biggest favela of Brazil, to pay his bills.
The instruments are precarious and the environment is hostile but little by little Laerte is able to gain the trust of the students and the community. He also gradually regains his pleasure of playing the violin. When he finds out about a new audition for OSESP, he is torn between rehearsals and his classes but ultimately decides to leave the school. However, a tragedy in Heliopolis brings students and teacher together one more time to perform at a farewell concert.
Inspired by the true story of the Baccarelli Institute and Antonio Ermirio de Moraes’ play Acorda Brasil, The Violin Teacher is set to a beautiful score of classical violin pieces.
“The solid, matter-of-fact conviction Lazaro Ramos brings to the performance is very much in keeping with the spirit of a film that carefully sidesteps the easy option of overt melodrama and tearjerking sentimentality in favour of honest emotion and well-crafted, quietly engaging storytelling.” (Allan Hunter, Screen Daily)
“This beautifully crafted character study pulls off most of the tough stuff it attempts with that extra dose of feeling, perspective, and poetry that elevates mere social commentary into real art.” (Ken Eisner, Georgia Straight)