In São Paulo, four half-brothers seek to follow their dreams and escape poverty. The game of 'keepy-uppy', from which the title translates, is a good metaphor for this story of simple betterment. It's presented without sentiment or cliché, and devoid of the violence that fuelled City of God and its descendants. Its message is clear: there is another way.
Its intimacy is striking (and reminiscent of Walter Salles' Central Station), achieved by months of relationship building between crew and extras. But the film's masterstroke is, as Sight & Sound points out, the decision "to grant the characters the freedom to live their own lives."