In Mamaliga Blues, a Jewish family goes on a journey from Brazil to Moldova in search of distant relatives and a lost grave. The trip takes them on an exploration of Eastern European Jewish history and the Holocaust.
In 1931, Abram Tolpolar and his wife Rachel emigrated from Moldova to southern Brazil. Seventy-seven years later, their only child, Mauro Tolpolar, makes the trip back. Accompanied by his two kids – who never knew their grandparents – Mauro visits his parents’ birthplace and finds clues to an unrevealed past. Having as a starting point only one remaining photograph of a lost grave, the Tolpolars drive through ancient villages, walk in the bushes of abandoned cemeteries, and meet locals, looking for what happened to their relatives who disappeared during the Holocaust. The search reveals the fragility of Moldova’s memory, and how its Jewish past is vanishing.
Mamaliga Blues has been screened at the Doc Shop in Canada, the South East European Film Festival in Los Angeles, the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Utah, the Gramado Latin Film Festival, the Midrash Cultural Center and the ARI in Rio de Janeiro, the Breman Museum in Atlanta, the Miami Jewish Film Festival, Fordham University in New York, the CRONOGRAF Film Festival in Moldova, and the Sao Paulo Jewish Film Festival.
Run time: 55 minutes; Closed Captioned; English Subtitles
Higher Education DVD + PPR, Higher Education DVD + PPR + Streaming License, K-12 and Nonprofit Groups DVD + PPR
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Cassio Tolpolar was born and raised in the south of Brazil. He worked for seven years as an Assistant Director on various documentaries, short films, TV shows and commercials. Cassio’s debut film as a director and writer, Venus, was screened in a number of film festivals around the world and won several awards, including Best Director and Best Cinematography. It led him to direct for television and, ultimately, to move to the U.S. and complete his MFA in Film at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has been affiliated with film institutions such as Sundance (Sundance/NHK Award and the Film Festival), Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival and San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Cassio recently returned to Brazil, where he is promoting Mamaliga Blues and developing All the Other Planets, a fiction feature film.