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In a brightly florescent, pre-pandemic São Paolo supermercado, the cashiers, stock clerks, and the rest of the essential workers take center stage in this charming documentary. With natural curiosity and perceptive camerawork, director Tali Yankelevich awakens us to the dramas and daydreams unfolding in and around the aisles: whether it be the bakers flirting behind the counter, or the security guard peering into her bank of closed-circuit monitors, wishing she could use them to watch over her grown-up children, while breathlessly exclaiming “Two suspects near the condensed milk!” into her walkie-talkie. The repetitiveness of the work leaves plenty of time for interiority and soul-searching, which makes for a surprisingly deep film—albeit one punctuated by abrupt reminders that everyone is still on the clock, as when a baker concludes a poignant, cosmic reverie by noting, “the cheese bread is ready.” As they discuss their hopes, fears, and passions while wearing hairnets and nametags, the interviewees strike a philosophical tone reminiscent of Studs Terkel’s landmark oral history Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. Just seeing the supermarket hum along under the guidance of these folks feels reassuringly normal, particularly with nary a mask in sight. “In this existentialist delight, whimsical and profound, the mundane gains new enlightenment” (Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times). (MK)

Presented with support from Metcalfe’s Market.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    80 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Director
    Tali Yankelevich
  • Producer
    Minom Pinho
  • Cinematographer
    Gustavo Almeida
  • Editor
    Marco Korodi