I WATCHED Do Começo ao Fim, a much-awaited Brazilian film with a gay theme, on Friday night at Park Shopping, and was a little disappointed with the script and some of the acting.
Directed and written by Aluisio Abranches, From Beginning to End is the love story of two half-brothers, Francisco and Thomás, who grow up together in Rio with their mother Julieta (Julia Lemmertz) and become lovers. The first half of the film shows the two when they are six and 11 years old each. Played by Lucas Cotrin (Francisco) and Gabriel Kaufmann (Thomás), the young actors are much more convincing and natural as the young brothers than João Gabriel Vasconcellos (who is a Ford model in real life) as the grown-up Francisco and Rafael Cardoso as the grown-up Thomás, who come across as being too self-conscious and thus irritatingly corny.
The veteran actress Lemmertz is excellent as the mother of the two boys. She notices the intimacy that develops between the two half-brothers, but does nothing to stop it. Instead she has a heart-to-heart talk with Francisco and tells him if he ever wants to talk about his feelings for his brother that she will be there to listen to him, and that he shouldn’t be ashamed of his feelings.
The director Abranches had trouble getting financing for the film because of its controversial theme of gay and incestuous love. Some producers offered support only if he made the two brothers heterosexual or if they became cousins in the script. He refused and was still able to get enough backing to finish the film. The director says he is not trying to raise any flags with the film, but that he only wants to tell a love story without making any judgments on it.
Vasconcellos as the grown up Francisco kept laughing too much in his scenes, which I found annoying and seemed to be a byproduct of his feeling nervous and the fact that he is a neophyte actor. Lapses in the script also left me and other viewers wondering how the two brothers could live together as lovers and never seem to encounter any hostility from friends and relatives.
Nevertheless, Do Começo ao Fim is a fine film that tackles a potentially controversial subject with dignity and compassion.
— The film is being shown in Brasilia at Park Shopping and at the Academia de Tenis.