Magazine article Screen International

Praia Do Futuro

Magazine article Screen International

Praia Do Futuro

Article excerpt

Dir: Karim Aïnouz. Brazil-Germany. 2013. 106mins

Bikes, beaches and an exile's saudade - Portuguese for the blues - combine to laconic but potent effect in Brazilian-German gay relationship drama Praia do Futuro. Low on dialogue, high on gorgeously moody photography, this thoughtful, erotically-charged piece from Brazilian writer-director Karim Aïnouz will obviously be a hot ticket for LGBT fests, but also has strong prospects for art-house distribution, given the Brazilian-European crossover flavour and the increasing global visibility of lead Wagner Moura, who scored as lead in the 2008 Golden Bear winner Elite Squad.

This is altogether a visually elegant film, with equal emphasis on the characters and on the landscapes, maritime and urban, that they inhabit.

In a three-part drama divided into separately titled chapters, Moura plays Donato, lifeguard at the titular 'Futuro Beach', a strand in the director's native Fortaleza, Brazil, that's notorious for its powerful waves. In a punchy opening, set to the Suicide track Ghost Rider, two men ride to the beach on motorbikes, then plunge into the sea - and the next thing we know, in a thrilling montage of underwater shots, Donato is coming to their rescue.

But only one man survives, and Donato has to tell the other - German visitor Konrad (Schick) - that his friend Heiko has drowned. Konrad doesn't seem too bothered, and instantly starts a passionate affair with Donato, which leads to the film's second chapter, in which Donato visits racing biker Konrad in Berlin. He's not too taken with the city's wintry austerity, but decides in the end to stay - leaving behind his kid brother Ayrton (played age 10 by Ramos)

It's therefore not a big jump to guess the identity of the moody teenager seen wandering around Berlin in the third chapter. Sure enough, it's the older Ayrton (Barbosa), who hasn't forgiven his big brother - now working as an aquarium diver - for leaving, and who vents his rage by making off with Konrad's bike. …

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