Pro: David Mouriquand
This queer drama about a withdrawn young Brazilian who finds his only form of escapism and income as a webcam performer for anonymous voyeurs could have ended up hitting some very familiar coming-of-age beats. It’s a testimony to the combined skills of co-directors Marco Reolon and Felipe Matzembacher that it doesn’t; they lend the film a distinctive and terse charm, delivering an empathetic character study bolstered by understated yet evocative visuals. Newcomer Shico Menegat is excellent as protagonist Pedro, exposing the tension central to a socially isolated character seemingly trapped in the sprawling urban setting of Porto Alegre, someone torn between the oppressive hardships of reality and the neon-coloured possibilities offered to him by the digital world. Capped off with a superbly cathartic needle-drop in its closing shot, this emotionally expansive psychodrama was a deserving winner of this year’s Teddy Award at the Berlinale.
Con: Anton Dechand
Let’s make an indie LGBT hit.
Create a sombre, inaccessible character with unkempt hair (Pedro aka NeonBoy). Set up Pedro’s tragic past: grey town, uni dropout, homophobia, violent incident. Tease the audience with a relatable character (big sister), and cut her after 10 minutes, because life goes on. Use hard symbolism like neon paint and ballet (Visibility! Development! Art!). Feel free to go all Moonlight and add funky chapters. Might lend it the gravity of an essay film, no?
Your queer Sisyphos is busy being misunderstood and his dancing isn’t going anywhere. Your call! Squeeze in random love stories (no human connection) and webcam-choreographies (no internet connection). We could be making a music video! Turn up the volume. Repeat the webcam striptease routine ad nauseam. Don’t be afraid of your audience peeking at their phones – stretch the threadbare narrative out over a patience-sapping two hours. You won’t have to resolve conflicts, since the audience will be thrilled by the mere sight of the end credits. Who needs dramatic escalation, or a sense of closure? This is life! This is loneliness! That Teddy is within your grasp!
Hard Paint (Tinta Bruta) | Directey by Marcio Reolon, Filipe Matzembacher (Brazil 2018) with Shico Menegat, Bruno Fernandes. Starts November 15.
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