“HALF BROTHER”— Life in Brazil


Life in Brazil

Amos Lassen

“Sandra’s mother has been missing for days. Disoriented and without money, she asks Jorge, her distant half-brother, for help. But he is going through a difficult situation: after recording a homophobic aggression, he is being threatened to not release the images.” “Half Brother” portrays the ills of the interpersonal relations of today’s Brazil. Eliane Coster’s film is a portrait of the deconstruction of the middle class (Paulistana in particular, national in general) through a dysfunctional family.

We see the decay through Sandra’s (Natalia Molina) gaze. She is an abandoned teenager in her own home. After the disappearance of his mother, Sandra tries, to give  some sense or meaning to life, losing herself in a sink of dishes, dealing with an absent father, loneliness, and imbalance of her own directions and facing conflicts at school. Creditors constantly beat her door, bleeding her assets, her soul and her self-esteem. Jorge (Diego Avelino) works with his father Wilson (Francisco Gomes) setting up security cameras. A camera is what puts him on a tense collision course with a violent homophobic group.

The scenario is of hopelessness enhanced by the constant interference of ubiquitous TV police news that ratify the current media rot. No one is happy. Unhappiness eventually generates some action yet there is a great deal of immobility. We have characters who have the power to hypnotize the public. They work, study and have fun.

Sandra studies but is not interested in school, and Jorge works with his father. Sandra goes through a rough period with the death of her mother. Jorge is dealing his sexuality and one day, he sees a gay couple having sex and then being beaten by bikers.

The siblings live in the immensity of the east of São Paulo. They deal with homophobia and racism, questions that continue to haunting society, whatever the neighborhood.

Sandra searches for Jorge who has filmed the  violent action committed against the gay guys. There is a certain distance between their lives and bodies but they become strengthened. More than just a film, “Half Brother” is an experience that is impossible to summarize and even more difficult to review. See it and see for yourself.