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From Beginning to End

Everyone loves each other a bit too much in "From Beginning to End," Aluizio Abranches' sunny ode to an incestuous coupling between half-brothers.

Cast:
With: Julia Lemmertz, Fabio Assuncao, Jean Pierre Noher, Louise Cardoso, Gabriel Kaufmann, Lucas Cotrim, Rafael Cardoso, Joao Gabriel Vasconcellos, Mausi Martinez, Fernanda Felix, Eduardo Coutinho.

Everyone loves each other a bit too much in “From Beginning to End,” Aluizio Abranches’ sunny ode to an incestuous coupling between half-brothers. Shifting from earlier arthouse stylings (“The Three Marias”) to a telenovela glossiness, the helmer-scripter portrays this odd bond as if it’s completely natural, literally playing it, um, straight. Gay-niche distrib TLA picked up Stateside rights, and while the male flesh on display is certainly a draw, most auds will find the childhood scenes just creepy. Beefcake plus controversy explains the initially strong Brazilian B.O. following a late November debut.

Francisco (Lucas Cotrim), 12, is unnaturally close to 6-year-old half-brother Thomas (Gabriel Kaufmann). Mom Julieta (Julia Lemmertz) and Thomas’ dad, Alexandre (Fabio Assuncao), think it’s lovely, though viewers might think otherwise watching Thomas admire Francisco doing his exercises. Thirty-seven minutes in and 15 years later, Francisco (Joao Gabriel Vasconcellos) and Thomas (Rafael Cardoso) decide they need to grab onto their love, since nothing lasts. Crisis comes when Thomas makes the Olympic swim team and has to train in Russia. (Really? Brazil’s pools aren’t good enough?) Neither Lemmertz nor Assuncao acquits himself with honor, but surface attractions abound.

From Beginning to End

Brazil-Argentina-Spain

Production: A TLA Releasing (in U.S.)/Downtown Filmes (in Brazil) release of a Pequena Central Filmes, Lama Filmes (Brazil)/Takoira Films (Argentina)/Monfort Producciones (Spain) production, in association with Estudios Quanta, Teleimage, Europa Filmes. (International sales: Wide Management, Paris.) Produced by Fernando Libonati, Aluizio Abranches, Marco Nanni. Executive producer, Olivia Guimaraes. Directed, written by Aluizio Abranches.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Ueli Steiger; editor, Fabio S. Limma; music, Andre Abujamra; production designers, Bruno Schmidt, Lulu Continentino; costume designer, Antonio Guedes. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 15, 2010. Original title: Do comeco ao fim. Portuguese, Spanish dialogue. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Julia Lemmertz, Fabio Assuncao, Jean Pierre Noher, Louise Cardoso, Gabriel Kaufmann, Lucas Cotrim, Rafael Cardoso, Joao Gabriel Vasconcellos, Mausi Martinez, Fernanda Felix, Eduardo Coutinho.

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