a film by Aluizio Abranches
2009 | 96 mins | Brazil
›› From Beginning to End - Do Começo ao Fim - aka: Jamais sans toi
an all too passionate story of brotherly love.
From Beginning to End by Aluizio Abranches With a spoiler warning firmly in place, letís cut to the core. For the upside is that this emotive work charts the deep friendship that develops between two men, one that ultimately leads to an intense gay relationship. The downside; they just happen to be brothers. Well half-brothers to be precise; same mother, different fathers. Only donít let the incestuous nature of this feature put you off, given this is one of the most realistic depictions of same-sex love for years; albeit one that firmly believes in keeping it in the family.

Only in dealing with the love that to this day, still dare not speak its name, writer and director Aluizio Abranches lures you in gently by beginning his story right at the start, namely with the birth of Thomás, as fathered by Alexandre and lovingly watched over by his older brother of five years Francisco, as fathered by Pedro to their devoted mother Julieta. Genealogy aside, it is here in the first act that Abranches lays the seeds of his incestuous work, showcasing the growing bond between the two now young boys, one so innocent that at first nothing is thought of it, until gradually doubts come into parental minds as to the nature of their relationship, one that seems very close - maybe too close.

From Beginning to End by Aluizio Abranches Only rather than act on their observations, such thoughts are cast aside, sure or perhaps not, that their sons will grow out of the playfulness of their youth. Yet switch to the adult stage of acts two and three and the bond between the two, now young men, has grown even stronger. Only when championship swimmer Thomás is invited to train for the Olympics in Russia, will their love survive the test of time, in the form of a three year separation?

Rationing his script with lines that question if "there is something you would like to tell me, something about you and your brother?," Abranches has delivered a film that is as compelling, as it is remarkably non-judgmental. Yet unlike other works of this nature, Starcrossed included, here Abranches takes his time in laying the foundation stone of his incestuous piece, resulting in the first third of the film being about boys in love - literally.

Beautifully shot and scored and with fine acting throughout, this social taboo of a film will no doubt divide audiences, given the nature of the narrative. That actors Rafael Cardoso as Thomás and João Gabriel Vasconcellos as Francisco make for lush eye-candy, goes without saying, a fact not lost on their artistic love making and erotic dance sequences, their beauty and screen chemistry seemingly being used to misdirect you for the issue at hand. Filmed against the sun drenched shores of the Brazilian coast and complete with full monty nudity, let alone some of the hottest man-on-man lip-service seen for ages, this conflict free story of brotherly love is as passionate, as it is controversial. As for the ending, well here I dare say that many may feel that the closing reel could have done with a bit more bite to it, ending as it does all too abruptly for my liking, even if the emotional intensity of these boys in love, is not in doubt. Brazilian cinema with an unconditional difference, indeed.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the full monty. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
Official Trailer / Portuguese no subtitles   Promo Trailer / footage not from the film
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue 28.03.2011
starring: Julia Lemmertz / Julieta, Fábio Assunção / Alexandre, Jean Pierre Noher /
Pedro, Louise Cardoso / Rosa, João Gabriel Vasconcellos / Francisco aged 25, Rafael Cardoso /
Thomás aged 20, Lucas Cotrim / Francisco aged 11, Gabriel Kauffman / Thomás aged 6,
Fernanda Félix / Bianca and Eduardo Coutinho as Fabio.
official websites: www.docomecoaofim.com.br / Portuguese
www.optimale.fr/jamaissanstoi / French
dedicated "To My Parents."
Copyright 2010 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #348
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