Bitter-sweet in its nostalgic and at the same time out-of-body look at Bessarabian history and present-day reality, this masterful film invites the viewer to contemplate how human folly and grandeur are interwoven in the very texture of Eastern European Jewish history.
Vladimir Solonari, PhD - Professor at University of Central Florida
A poignant trip back to the pre-war and war time Jewish history of Modova.
Radu Ioanid, Historian
It’s not often that a self-narrated film has a lasting impression, but Cassio Tolpolar’s homegrown and low-key storytelling skills in his documentary “Mamaliga Blues” offers up an enchanting tale of search and discovery.
Elias Savada, Film Threat writer and critic
It is a beautiful film, with an amateurish touch, personal and universal at the same time.
Luiz Carlos Merten, Film Critic, the Estado de São Paulo, Brazil
Not unlike Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel-turned-film "Everything Is Illuminated," Brazilian-American director Cassio Tolpolar’s documentary "Mamaliga Blues" follows a family’s travels to seek out the graves of lost relatives.
Hilary Saunders, The Daily Forward
In 1931, Abram Tolpolar and his wife, Rachel, immigrated from Bessarabia/Moldova to southern Brazil. Seventy-seven years later, their only child, Mauro Tolpolar, made the trip back. Accompanied by his two kids, who never had a chance to meet their paternal grandparents, Mauro visited his parents' birthplace and also found answers to an unrevealed past.
Having only one remaining photograph of a lost family grave, the Tolpolars drove through ancient villages, walked in the bushes of abandonded cemeteries and met locals, looking for what happened to their relatives who disappeared during the Holocaust and getting to know the current Jewish community in Moldova.
It is a smiliar story to thousand of Jewish families who came to Brazil in the beginning of the 20th century, escaping from the persecutions of Eastern Europe. The scenes filmed in Moldova are touching and show what happened to that magical world of the small "shtetls".
Jacques Ribemboim, Economist, Brazil
a documentary film by Cassio Tolpolar