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The Man Who Copied

Kinko's After Hours

André is a nice young man whose meaningless job is to operate the photocopier at the local stationery store in a working-class neighborhood in Porto Alegre in southern Brazil. A high-school dropout, he spends his days reading fragments of poems, plays, essays, and novels as they pass over the copier's rhythmic light. These assorted fragments teach André a little about everything but not a lot about any one thing.

With his binoculars he observes the world outside his bedroom, which he wallpapers with miscellaneous photocopy rejects. Life is a collage of experiences, sights, and sounds to him, which he captures in his drawings. The Man Who Copied has a lot of fun with this kaleidoscopic notion by repeating some scenes and enacting André's wishful thinking.

He may not talk much but he has an active and very complex inner dialog, which comes through in his narration. When he's not working, André hangs out with his flirtatious coworker, Marinês, and her tagalong friend, Cardoso. One day André tries to find out more about a girl, named Sílvia, he spies from his bedroom window.

Money is on everyone's mind, actually, because no one has any. If they did, Marinês would like Cardoso more than she does, Sílvia would escape her creepy stepfather, and André would draw comic books for a living. André hatches a risky scheme (cash, copier: you get the picture) to finally get some money and solve all their problems but luck has other plans for them.

This wildly inventive, fast-paced, and overall charming blend of comedy, drama, romance, crime thriller and, yes, cartoon (and so well edited together) portrays a fascinating, complex world of love and desire that's both unexpected and familiar.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars