“SUNBURN”— A Relaxing Weekend?


A Relaxing Weekend?

Amos Lassen

Vicente Alves do O’s “Sunburn” is a sexy mystery-thriller about four friends leave Lisbon for the south of Portugal and a weekend at a luxurious but isolated villa. There is a pool, a lot of wine and many unspoken tensions. Their  weekend is disrupted by the return of the mysterious David, who had left the country 10 years previously.

Each of the four in the house has some form of history with David, romantic, sexual or otherwise, and his return  turns the weekend upside down as old tensions return and new relationships are threatened. David’s return (or even just the mention of it) is felt throughout the film as a tension that undermines everything else.

This is an LGBT film where the focus isn’t on the characters and their sexuality. Quite simply, it is a film about four friends and their flaws; they just happen to be gay. This kind of mainstream, almost irrelevant treatment of sexuality is fascinating as minorities are people with people problems like majorities and their sexuality isn’t a be all and end all.

It is set in a house on a small island in the sea of forest that surrounds them and it’s here that all action takes place. However, there is a forced sense of Portuguese intellectualism and we realize that there aren’t the people I know or associate with.

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