Brazilian filmmaker beautifully captures a friend's journey in 'Gabriel and the Mountain'

When Gabriel’s girlfriend Cristina (a wonderful Caroline Abras) joins him in Tanzania, the intricacies of companionship take over. As they trek from there to Zambia, we see his wildly romantic, loving side, but also a testier one, likelier to play the arrogant traveler card, as when he accuses a safari guide (Rashidi Athuman) of overcharging or argues with a waitress over a tourist trap restaurant’s rules. Through Cristina’s admiration and exasperation, played with heartfelt intensity by Abras, we grasp Gabriel’s complications: to be seen as a “Mzungu” — or rich white tourist — is anathema to him, and yet it’s also who he is. Maybe, as rendered by Barbosa and dimensionalized by Zappa, he’s simply the most palatably human version of it.