A group of friends from São Paulo head for a secluded beach to celebrate New Year’s. Together they relax, sunbathe and make music. And they talk: about their sexuality, their bodies, their hair, their youth, their fears, certainties and uncertainties, as anyone does sometimes with good friends. Along the way, we learn a lot about contemporary Brazil: what it’s like to be a young lesbian in a country where homophobia is rife? what it means to have frizzy hair in a society where racism is deeply rooted. The conversations reveal the contours of a country that has hardened with the election of President Jair Bolsonaro. It’s a huge contrast with the empathy and the solidarity we see among the friends, which the crew—consisting of the women themselves—vividly conveys in an intimate and sophisticated style of filming.
The Jump Teens from the neighborhood look up to him. The 22yearold daredevil Alain Demaria has been jumping into the sea from a dangerously high rock for years. Not only does he leap the 13 meters (42 feet) down, skimming past jagged rocks, but he also does it head first. No one has ever copied him. In a dynamic style combining grainy photography with dazzling slowmotion shots and a creative use of sound, we hear from Demaria to gain a brief glimpse of his life. He talks about smoking joints to suppress his anger, his relationship with his mother, and the unpleasant experiences of his childhood. And of course about jumping: “You smash aside the water with your head and your fists. It’s like smashing in a window and going through it.” But Demaria is no longer the boy he used to be. Vanessa Dumont and Nicolas Davenel have caught him precisely at the boundary between childhood and adulthood, offering up a moving comingofage drama in just 12 minutes.
The Circle If you grow up as a black kid in a Hackney, East London housing project, you face prejudice all your life. Choreographer and filmmaker Lanre Malaolu knows this only too well. His short film is a portrait of two 17yearolds who live in his neighborhood, the twins David and Sanchez Smith. They talk about their relationship, their family, the problems they face, their mental health, their dreams and other sensitive topics. The boys aren’t used to being this open. By incorporating modern dance in the portrait, Malaolu manages to delve deeper and reveal the soft side beneath their tough exterior. The gap between how they’re perceived and how they feel inside determines both the form of and the subject of the film. All isn’t what it seems, as even gloomy Hackney is bursting with ideas.