BFI Flare 2018: Hard Paint

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 8

"Moody, disturbed loner Pedro lives in the depressed harbour town of Porto Alegre. He scrapes together a living as webcam performer NeonBoy and erotic displays of his naked body smeared with neon paint attract a devoted following. When he discovers another male performer, Leon, has copied his act under the pseudonym Boy25, it prompts a radical change to Pedro’s performance and life. His reluctance to leave the house and his desperate need for money hide a deeper anxiety that force Pedro to confront his existence. Love, commerce, family and relationships are thrown into question as he struggles to keep things under control, ever hopeful and resilient in the face of moral, social, sexual and personal change."

For Pedro (Shico Menegat), life in the Brazilian backwater Porto Alegre ain't a lot of fun... Wait, this is sounding a lot like last night's film, Marilyn.

But that's not a criticism. Marilyn is an excellent picture, and Marcio Reolon and Filipe Matzembacher's Hard Paint is too. The films' similarities - bullying and isolation in unforgiving nowheresville - won't be unfamiliar to LGBT audiences (or queer cinema devotees).

Erotic and atmospheric, this is a film about isolation and alienation. Menegat is utterly mesmerising as Pedro, rendering him incredibly sympathetic, a real triumph for a character who is so shut off. Your heart breaks for the boy

The final act is agonisingly bittersweet, but apt, and a pleasing diversion from gay cinema's dependence on tragedy. Hard Paint is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll. Superb.

Every year, KAOS reports from the annual BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival. This year, I'll be reviewing seven films. 

Next time: Wood


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