Dir/Writers| Filipe Matzembacher, Marcio Reolon | Cast: Shico Menegat, Bruno Fernandes, Guega Peixoto, Sandra Dani, Frederico Vasques, Denis Gosh, Camila Falcao, Aurea Baptista, Larissa Sanguine, Ze Adao Barbosa
Contrary to its flamboyant sounding title, Hard Paint sees a soulful young loner seeking seclusion in the virtual world of gay chatrooms until his colourful cover is blown with mixed consequences.
This visually alluring and sensually suggestive character study unravels in Brazil’s Porto Alegre were the troubled protagonist has reinvented himself as an online performer when his actual life disappoints him sexually and socially. But despite his vulnerable appearance Pedro (Shico Menegat) has developed a an emotional toughness that serves him well in his harsh contemporary surroundings where his androgynous appearance and pretty boy tousled locks are often viewed with contempt, desire and even open hostility.
Told in three chapters, the film is shot in intimate close up but also gets out and about in the locale capturing the skyline of this southernmost Brazilian city. The first chapter is dedicated to Pedro’s sister Luiza (Guega Peixoto), who has supported him through thick and thin and is now leaving to work in another part of Brazil, and his parents are no longer on the scene. The subdued daytime scenes provide a rhythmic counterpoint to his graphic love-making with rival Leo (Bruno Fernandes), and the dreamlike chatroom sequences where his body glows with florescent paint as he gyrates to electronic vibes.
But Leo is also competing with him online as Boy25, and he forms the subject of Chapter 2. Leo wants to move from the downmarket Porto Alegre to the bright lights of BA where he hopes to take up a dance scholarship, and soon the two are performing as a double act online, and making money. Pedro must now clear up some legal business relating to a serious road accident. Leo seems supportive as the couple’s online and offline lives start to be mutually beneficial and they share a palpable onscreen chemistry in graffic sex scenes which incredibly authentic.
Neon Boy is the appropriately titled enigmatic Third Chapter where Pedro faces the music, and the music starts to become a more noticeable part of the film. The gloves are now off and the real Pedro is revealed in some scenes of heightened drama. The weak may look vulnerable but they are often the strongest people around. MT
ON RELEASE FROM FRIDAY 2 AUGUST 2019