“SEASHORE”— Becoming Adults

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“Seashore” (“Beira-Mar”)

Becoming Adults

Amos Lassen

Martin (Mateus Almada) and Tomaz (Mauricio Jose Barcellos) have been friends for years and they are now on the verge of becoming adults. Martin goes to Brazil because his father wanted him there to deal with something to do with inheritance. Tomaz goes with him and for both of them the trip becomes a journey. They are near the sea but there is something else pulling at them—their attraction for each other. The film is by the duo of Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon’s and it is an atmospheric autobiographical look at their lives. The weekend the two boys spend in Brazil changes their friendship forever and we shift from friend to lover as the two explore sexuality and personal identity.

The camera work is gorgeous as it emphasizes the complexities of the emotional states of our two main characters. The soundtrack also picks up and the lows and the joys and the fears of Tomaz and Martin. This is a magical film that is sensitive and tender and all about looking for love and then finding it right in front of one’s eyes.

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Matzembacher and Reolon use too many close-ups and the camera tends to stay too long on the faces of the characters. We see that has problems with his father and Tomaz tries to help make peace between father and son. While the two soon to be young men are in a sparse place, they start to make tentative steps towards resolving the issues that they both have and thereby let us into their lives.

Every once in a while, the youthful pair have a suggestive conversation about friendship that is real and borders on a relationship. At one point when tensions have boiled over, they sit drinking beer and talking in an awkward masculine way. We see family tensions and sexual awakening mixed with youthful misbehavior happening. Random conversations about the beach drift into tales of family trauma while sexuality is thrust repeatedly into the open, often from nowhere.

This becomes a bigger problem with the decision to underplay everything. The camera hovers almost close enough to touch and Martin and Tomaz do not seem to know how to react. They are unable to conjure up a sense that any of this actually matters to them, never mind leave the impression growth has somehow been achieved along the way.

It’s a confusing time for the young men and questions come up for the first time— personal questions that may have never been explored as everyone endeavors to fit in with the social norm. These themes of innocence and personal identity are evident throughout “Seashore”. This is a very exciting and raw coming-of-age story.

Both of main characters’ share long contemplative gazes that are clever focal points through which the viewer can identify with the themes. Cinematographer João Gabriel de Queiroz is unrelenting in capturing each element of the characters’ developing identities. What the film really shows us tenderly and with sensitivity is the emotion of a certain age when love, sexuality and personal identity are new to Martin and Tomaz and we cannot help but remember how it was with our own lives.

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