›› Soulbound - Teus Olhos Meus
a film by Caio Sóh.
2011 | 105 mins | Brazil.
principal players: Emilio Dantas / Gil, Remo Rocha / Otávio, Paloma Duarte / Leila, Roberto Bomtempo / César, Claudio Lins / Carlos, Juliana Lohmann / Carla, Gugu Peixoto / Gugu, Gustavo Novaes / Marcelo and with Jayme Matarazzo as young Otávio and Graziella Schimitt as Lígia.
Adapted Synopsis: "What if life blindsided destiny? What if happiness was found in the unlikeliest of places? When do we allow ourselves to embrace the new, without fear of letting go of the past?
Gil is a penniless twenty-year-old young man whose life is fulfilled by his music, poetry and his ever questioning view of the world. Only when a family row causes Gil to run away from home, leaving behind the sole love that he has even known, the love of his Aunt Leila, a chance encounter with music producer Otávio is set to change his destiny forever."
In many ways, this compelling debut feature from writer and director Caio Sóh reminds me of Marco Berger's captivating Plan B, given both offer an unhurried exploration of male friendship and sexuality, as two men, née heterosexual, come to discover in each other the relationship bliss that has hitherto evaded them. Only in a film with a lot to like, here Sóh has gone out of his way to deliver a dramatic, if not shocking twist in the closing act.
The emotional tidal waves of two men in love, in Soulbound.
To that end, both leads play their contrasting parts to a tee, with Remo Rocha as Otávio the rock of the relationship, a man whose dormant passion for life is awoken upon his beach side encounter with Gil, aka actor Emilio Dantas and who here is cast as the pot-smoking wild card of the piece; an aspiring, if at times drunk musician who comes to find his heart, together with his body seeking solace in a direction he never thought it would go. True, their scenes in bed are strictly of the post-sex variety, yet their deep love for each other is all but obvious, as a series of passionate kisses circumnavigate the emotional tidal waves of their relationship, one that feels entirely natural and genuine.
Thankfully in a production that includes the occasional split-screen effect serving as linkages to differing plot strands, including Gil's close bond with his Aunt Leila and conversely his turbulent relationship with her wife beater of a husband César, Sóh wonderfully juxtaposes inspirational poetic-like talk on the beach, cue the drunken kiss between the two men, with a vibrant jam session styled soundtrack. And whilst heavy in hand-held cinematography, this is also a film laced with scenes from Otávio's home movie footage of the time when as a young man he was infatuated with the beautiful Lígia, interlinking flashback sequences that prove too much for his current lover Carlos, to take.
Yet the spotlight remains ever fixed on the relationship between the two men, as Gil, at first repulsed by his latent homosexual awakening, gradually comes to accept his sexual self and moreover his love for a man older than himself. Only as the film comes full circle, a critical scene is missing and whilst there can be little doubt as to its outcome, it still is left begging to be explored. All of which makes for an emotional rollercoaster ride on life and love delivered with a knockout punch, one that may or may not catch you unawares. But to say more would be a spoiler.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - the skinny-dipping monty.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.