Film Review: MARTE UM (MARS ONE): A Family Film Inspiring Mutual Respect and Hope [Sundance 2022]


Marte Um (Mars One) Review

Marte uh (march one) (2022) film criticism from 44th Annual Sundance Film Festival, a movie directed by Gabriel Martins, featuring Rejane Faria, Carlos Francisco, Juan Pablo Sorin, Camilla Damiao, and Cicero Lucas.

Personal goals and ambition collide with external events that force the members of a lower-middle-class Brazilian family to reevaluate each other’s attitudes.


The Martins are like millions of families around the world. They live on a modest budget in what could be described as a blue-collar suburb of a big city. However, they have ambitious goals and they dream big. But that’s not a pie in the sky; they keep their feet on the ground. Wellington, the patriarch, works hard as a building superintendent. He hopes one day his son, Deivinho, will fully embrace his natural football talent which will lift the boy from obscurity to stardom.

Matriarch Tércia’s hopes are practical and grounded and ensure the house runs smoothly day to day. She keeps the best peace at home and at work as a per diem housekeeper. Eunice, the eldest daughter, hopes her romance with an upper-class woman will turn into a living partnership.

But Deivinho wants more than sport in his life. His hero is not Juan Pablo Sorin, a local football hero and Wellington acquaintance. Only Eunice knows that he has every intention of joining the Mars One mission. There’s never a missing podcast from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He sneaks through junkyards looking for items to build a telescope.

According to Gabriel Martins, director of his first feature film, the election of ultraconservative Jair Bolsonaro as president has cast a veil over the nation. This doesn’t appear much in evidence for this reviewer. Instead, it’s a deeply personal and unwavering look at one family’s struggles and their courage as they try to maintain some semblance of serenity and security in their lives.

Despite the election, however, a series of events, some deliberate, others seemingly random, hamper their efforts. Tércia has lost income due to a client’s vacation plans, then is spooked (literally) by the explosion of a bombshell prank for a TV show. She begins to experience symptoms of PTSD, but insists she is a curse.

The father-son Loggerhead creates critical mass when Deivinho balks at Sorin’s arrangement for a semi-professional football trial at Wellington’s request. Traditional paternal pride could be just as much at stake as fame and financial security. What blue-collar dad wouldn’t want to bask in the thoughtful glory of a son of sports legend? An attractive and insidious situation for Wellington. He could have realized that divergent goals were not necessarily mutually exclusive. Deivinho confides in Eunice that he doesn’t see why he can’t love football and astrophysics in the same way.

Wellington might have seen his son’s point of view if he had discussed it with his 12-step sponsor, if he had one. Or share it with an open discussion group and get feedback. But instead, his frustration led to a poor decision at work, which resulted in his manager-boss being robbed. His brilliant work record could not save him, and he lost his job along with his reputation. Deivinho’s own frustration led to the challenge. Instead of staying home to rest before the test, he took on a long-standing challenge on his bike. For Wellington, it added insult to injury to his son as well as his own with the tries out of the picture. Unsurprisingly, Wellington went on a bender and broke his four years of sobriety.

In the meantime, Eunice deals with the family’s reaction to her relationship with Joana. Not because it’s the same sex; in fact, each meets the other’s parents, who are warm and supportive on both sides. At issue is the Martins’ reliance on Eunice amid family turmoil. But she feels the time has come and is holding on.

The abrupt and powerful scene in which Tércia attacks the same television crew that shattered her peace of mind manages to reinforce the logic of the film. Breaking the camera was cathartic for Tércia, but her detention at the bus station saved her from a death on the bus she was to take for rest treatment. The film stays true to the theme of family integrity, which survives the changes its members must face in order to grow as individuals.

The final scene flows beautifully. Deivinho, his built telescope, has set it up in the backyard, where they congregate and each take a look at Mars. At that time, the Mars One project had been officially scrapped, but not anyone’s dream.

As if the director nicknaming the family after his own wasn’t enough, the fact that Sorin is actually a professional soccer player underscores the strong possibility that this work is at least partly autobiographical. This explains the film’s raw, almost docudrama-like vibe. For the Martins, their true unity lies in mutual love and respect, not fame, wealth or position.

Evaluation: 8/ten

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