×

Soulbound

A boozing, pot-smoking and penniless Brazilian musician is kicked out of his uncle's home in "Soulbound," though he conveniently bumps into a wealthy music producer whose relationship with his b.f. has just hit rock-bottom.

With:
With: Emilio Dantas, Paloma Duarte, Roberto Bomtempo, Remo Rocha, Claudio Lins, Jayme Matarazzo, Graziela Schmitt, Juliana Lohmann.

A boozing, pot-smoking and penniless Brazilian musician is kicked out of his uncle’s home in “Soulbound,” though he conveniently bumps into a wealthy music producer whose relationship with his b.f. has just hit rock-bottom. Directorial debut from Brazilian scribe-helmer Caio Soh has a youthful freshness and flair for off-the-cuff poetry that compensate for many of its beginners’ mistakes, though a telenovela-worthy final twist undermines the otherwise nicely modulated emotional arcs. Bound for the indie and queer circuits as well as ancillary, the pic should also convince a local producer to invest time and money in this rough talent’s second feature.

Suggesting a grungier Brazilian version of Ashton Kutcher, long-haired 20-year-old Gil (Emilio Dantas) is practically thrown out of the house of his late mother’s sister, Leila (Paloma Duarte), by Leila’s hard-hearted hubby, Cesar (Roberto Bomtempo), who’s fed up with his nephew’s musical-bum routine.

Unsure where to go after his g.f., Carla (Juliana Lohmann) and some friends let him down, Gil ends up begging for free booze at a latenight beachside shack. Being the suffering creative type, he hopes not only to drown his sorrows, but maybe also to come up with a good song.

Pic also presents snippets of the equally eventful night of 40-ish music producer Otavio (Remo Rocha), whose b.f., Carlos (Claudio Lins), goes into a fit of jealous rage after the two watch old footage of Otavio and his first true love, a woman named Ligia. Otavio’s and Gil’s paths cross on the beach, where they bond over music and a bottle of whiskey, finally turning their chance meeting into an all-night bender that ends with a passionate kiss.

It is in the depiction of this night that the talents of Soh, a young poet and playwright, really come to the fore, managing to find poetry in simple human interaction and injecting the men’s casual, inebriated conversations with lyrical truths that jive with their musical sensibilities.

The rest of the pic charts Gil’s coming to terms with finding “happiness in a place where he never thought he’d go” and Otavio’s continued obsession with Ligia, with whom he’s lost contact. This element, which could have been fleshed out further, explores the possibility that a gay man’s amorous relationship with a woman before his coming out wasn’t an unemotional, wrong-headed affair, but something involving real feelings.

Newcomer Dantas, a singer, and vet Rocha keep things grounded, and their easy rapport feels entirely natural. However, Soh makes Cesar and the jealous Carlos such caricatures of pent-up male anger that they at times threaten to take things into sudser territory. And the final twist arrives so late, there’s no room to examine its emotional impact, thus reducing it to a simple shock tactic.

Smudgy, very agile camerawork features some extreme closeups and occasional splitscreen, though the at-times poor or odd choices of coverage and shots betray Soh’s inexperience; editing is likewise a mixed bag. Music, by Maria Gadu, Maycon Ananias and Aureo Gandur, keeps things grungy.

Popular on Variety

Soulbound

Brazil

Production: A Sinceramente Cinicas, Lobo Filmes presentation and production in association with Cafeina Filmes. Executive producer, Luana Lobo. Directed, written by Caio Soh.

Crew: Camera (color), Othon Castro; editors, Soh, Bruno Granja, Bruno Regis; music, Maria Gadu, Maycon Ananias, Aureo Gandur; production designers, Junior Paixao, Ana Luisa Santanna, Joana Mendonca; sound (Dolby Digital), J.P. Fonseca; assistant director, Daniela Rebello. Reviewed on DVD, Rio de Janeiro, Oct. 17, 2011. (In Rio Film Festival -- New Trends.) Running time: 104 MIN.

With: With: Emilio Dantas, Paloma Duarte, Roberto Bomtempo, Remo Rocha, Claudio Lins, Jayme Matarazzo, Graziela Schmitt, Juliana Lohmann.

More Film

  • Box Office Mojo new

    Box Office Mojo Site Transformed by IMDbPro

    BoxOfficeMojo.com has been transformed into an IMDbPro site, losing some of its free features. The Amazon-owned site, which had previously operated free of charge, was given a new look with its header reading “Box Office Mojo by IMDb Pro.” Information such as breakdowns by genre is now only available behind the IMDbPro paywall. The Box [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Hocus Pocus' Sequel in Development at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has launched development of a sequel to 1993’s fantasy comedy “Hocus Pocus” with “Workaholics” writer and co-producer Jen D’Angelo on board to script. The original “Hocus Pocus” starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witch sisters who have been cursed since 1693 in Salem, Ma. The witches [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Wins 2019 Eppy Award for Best Digital Magazine

    Variety has won two Eppy Awards from Editor & Publisher, including Best Digital Magazine and Best Collaborative Investigative/Enterprise Feature for “American (In)Justice” — a collaboration with fellow PMC property Rolling Stone. “American (In)Justice” also tied with USA Today’s “Copy, Paste, Legislate” collaboration with The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity. Variety has provided [...]

  • Joker Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: Villains Face Off Again as 'Joker' and 'Maleficent' Battle for First Place

    Despite three new nationwide releases, domestic box office charts look to be dominated by holdovers — Warner Bros.’ “Joker” and Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” — during the last weekend in October. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted last weekend with $36 million in North America, enough to dethrone “Joker” after the super-villain origin story’s back-to-back [...]

  • Yasushi Shiina

    Tokyo Market is Finding New Strengths, Says Yasushi Shiina

    Clouds on the global economic horizon and disruption to the scheduling of the event, have done little to dampen the interest of foreign visitors to TIFFCOM, Japan’s biggest film and TV market. Especially those from China, says market head, Yasushi Shiina. The market is again running at the Sunshine City shopping, entertainment and business complex [...]

  • "Weathering With You" directed by Makoto

    Toho Unveils Dual Media Romance 'Love Me, Love Me Not' at Tokyo Market

    Japan’s biggest film company, which produces, distributes and exhibits its own product in partnership with leading media companies, Toho has brought a line-up to TIFFCOM full of present and future hits. The biggest is “Weathering with You,” the love story animation by Makoto Shinkai that surpassed the $100 million mark only a month after its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content