BFI Flare 2017: Body Electric + Miles

B F I  F L A R E
L o n d o n  L G B T  F i l m  F e s t i v a l  2 0 1 7

"Elias is a handsome young deputy manager in a garment factory in São Paulo. When he’s not working, he enjoys casual encounters in the big city. The arrival of a young African, Fernando, on the production line piques his interest and Elias finds himself increasingly drawn into socialising with his work colleagues."

If Jesús represents the brutal, nihilistic side of Latin America, Corpo Elétrico (Eng: Body Electric) is the joyful flipside of the coin, a film inspired (director Marcelo Caetano told us in the Q&A afterwards) by Walt Whitman’s poem I Sing the Body Electric.

Caetano's film is electrifying yet understated, a good hearted celebration of Brazilians that doesn't go quite where you expect it to. But that's okay, because it's easy to let yourself be carried away by the people in this film.

It's hard to believe this is Caetano's debut feature. There's an incredible tracking shot following the gang down a street, drawing us into the group, giving each character time to shine. It's an ambitious - but incredibly rewarding - shot, and indicative of Caetano's generosity: each one of the group matters, not just the leads.

Corpo Elétrico is an incredible achievement, and hands down the best film at this year's Flare.

Read an interview with Caetano here.

"When the sudden death of his father leaves his family bankrupt, out and proud high schooler Miles fears his dreams of escaping to college will evaporate. However, he learns of a volleyball scholarship that might be the solution to his problems. There’s only one catch – his school only has a girls team."

It would be churlish to be mean about Miles, director Nathan Adloff's debut feature. It's so soft and inoffensive it would be akin to kicking a puppy.

But visually it's dull (small town America can be lensed spectacularly - see Akron) and the script somewhat inert, but the cast pull it together. Tim Boardman and the omnipresent Molly Shannon are a believable mother and son, but everyone is upstaged by a scene-stealing Monika Casey as a dick-obsessed widow. The Simpsons' Yeardley Smith also makes a cameo appearance.

Miles won't set the world on fire, but nor is it hurting anyone either.

(Rogue "Marbie" Scott was there with me, and liked Miles more than I did. Watch what he thought here.)

Every year, KAOS reports from the annual BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival. This year, I'll be reviewing eleven films (including a few programmes of shorts). Next time: Jesus.


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