The year is 1984, and Brazil is on the cusp of massive political change. Estela is a high school woman preparing to travel to California to visit her uncle, who is a music journalist and pop-culture connoisseur. She focuses on keeping up her grades to go on her trip while navigating romance, sex and social pressures. But when Estela’s uncle suddenly returns to Brazil sickly thin and pale, intending to get his things in order, the family’s quiet mourning hints at the nascent AIDS epidemic of the ’80s. Set to the musical and cultural touchstones of the era—Bowie, the Cure, Kerouac’s On the Road
tells a nostalgic coming-of-age story very much of a moment in time, but also speaking to universal experiences of family, love and growing up.