Nelio's Story

Part fable, part realism, this 1997 Swedish feature by Solveig Nordlund follows an impressionable orphan as he makes his way from a war-ravaged village to an unnamed city in Mozambique. Along the journey he's blessed by a lizard woman, and his powers to heal and see the future help him to overcome a Fagin-like con man, an attraction to an albino girl, and the troubles that befall his gang of street urchins. Adapted from a novel by Henning Mankell, the film has been compared to Hector Babenco's Pixote but lacks the other film's desperation and insight into the chasm between wealth and poverty that afflicts the young. Nordlund portrays a corrupt government unable to feed its own, but the force of her commentary is diluted by magical realism and theatrical claptrap (the story is told by a baker who works out of an avant-garde theater). In Portuguese with subtitles. 92 min.

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