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often similar to a little boy lost in a park that he had no right venturing into , the call of the oboe ( o toque do oboe ) is a disappointing film that seems to have wandered astray .
many elements of the film are solid , and have potential far greater than director claudio macdowell will ever know , but they simply don't convert into a solid work .
although a setting is never established , it becomes apparent .
the film takes place somewhere in a latin american village in present day .
the community is a dull one , where every day is a downhill slide from the last .
over time , the people have taken to themselves .
the town cinema is closed , no tourist has passed through in years , and the daily funeral processions are accompanied by no one other than the grave digger .
so what happens when a " tourist " ( paolo betti ) does arrive one day ?
he sends this routine and dull town into mayhem and shock .
it is revealed that he is a musician who plays the oboe as a hobby .
when he sits down in the park one day to give a solo performance , the entire community gathers around for their first bit of entertainment in countless years .
it is from that that the musician meets some of the villagers , and agrees to play at the local cinema in accompaniment to a silent film , thus opening the theatre for the first time in ages .
the woman that talks him into this witty task is the cinema owner ( leticia vota ) who also happens to be engaged to the town's police inspector , a figure who soon becomes suspicious of his fiance's involvement with this musician .
the rest of the plot closely resembles a freak show gone horribly astray .
it features a character who literally rises from his grave , a woman who has a phone conversation with god , and the aforementioned inspector who goes from an intriguing and serious character , to an almost humorous drunk .
technically , this film is a nightmare .
the music score is poorly edited into the film , so it is often choppy , rough , and abrupt .
the lighting is poor at best , which makes it increasingly difficult to focus on many scenes , and the english subtitles are full of misspelled words , and are often absent presumably on the assumption that the audience will be able to understand some simple portuguese and spanish phrases .
this translation flaw is best highlighted at the beginning of the film when what seems to be a relevant fight is filled with dialogue , but the subtitles are limited to fewer than 25 words .
in addition , the pace of the film seems uneven .
it opens with a series of long panoramic shots that alone can test one's patience .
the film then moves into a faster pace , that again slows towards the end , as the director seems determined to reach the two hour mark .
there was , however , potential for this film .
it is a piece exploring the beauty of cinema and music , and the re-unification of people .
these are all topics that could easily fill a movie .
perhaps , if there were no freak show , and the technical aspects were to improve , there might just be a thing of beauty at the end .
most importantly , though , the director would have to patch up the plot and make it flow better so that the two hours aren't such a bore .
until then , there seems to be little more hope for this piece , than that boy has by simply crying out " mommy " while he wanders astray in a park .