›› From Beginning to End - Do Começo ao Fim ‹‹

a film by Aluizio Abranches.

2009 | 96 mins | Brazil.

an all-consuming story of brotherly love.

Dave says:

With a spoiler warning firmly in place, let's cut to the chase. 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 don't 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 within 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, (respectively played by Rafael Cardoso as an adult and Gabriel Kauffman as a child), as fathered by Alexandre (Fábio Assunção) and lovingly watched over by his older brother of five years Francisco, (likewise played by João Gabriel Vasconcellos as an adult and Lucas Cotrim as a child), as fathered by Pedro (Jean Pierre Noher) to their devoted mother Julieta (Júlia Lemmertz). Genealogy and cast names aside, it's here in the first act that Abranches lays the seeds of his incestuous work, showcasing the growing bond between the two 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 - perhaps too close.

Only rather than act on their observations, such thoughts are cast aside, sure in the minds 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's something you would like to tell me, something about you and your brother?", Abranches has delivered a film that is as compelling, as it's remarkably non-judgmental. For 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 both Cardoso and Vasconcellos make for lush eye-candy goes without saying, a fact not lost on the films' artistic sexual 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 frontal nudity, let alone some of the hottest man-on-man lip-service seen for ages, this all-consuming 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. Need more be said?

›› revised: Sunday, 1st August, 2021.

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

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