Alexandre Moratto’s debut feature is a stunning and deeply emotional portrayal of a young mans journey through bereavement, isolation and family breakdown. Produced by the Quero Institute in Brazil with support from UNICEF, Socrates empowers at risk young people as producers, co-writers and actors. This input from young people gives Socrates a realism and natural delivery that reflects the thin line between poverty and security in inner city Brazilian society.
Filmed on an extremely low budget, Socrates manages to capture a filming style that feels connected to our lead (Socrates) a 15 year old young man played by newcomer Christian Malheiros. Starting the film with the deeply emotional loss of his mother, we follow Socrates through his struggles in supporting himself, while dealing with the bereavement that has stolen his security and opportunity.
As a gay young man this security is further threatened by a distant and disconnected relationship with his absent father; who will not accept his sons sexuality at any cost.
Socrates finds an emotional connection with another local young man, who hides his sexual orientation through a veil of anger, frustration and lies; a complex relationship of hidden truths and barriers of expectation in masculinity.
Socrates impact comes from it’s realism and social reflection, it’s not afraid to challenge the audience or the social constructs of the society it represents. Reflecting back to the audience the choices forced upon young people in a society where opportunities are limited by income and support.
The impact of Socrates is further deepened by the recent political changes in Brazil; increasingly isolating LGBT young people from their society and support mechanisms.
Beautifully shot and performed, Socrates demonstrates the emotional and social power of Brazilian film making in exploring the challenges faced by young people at risk. We can only hope that films like Socrates continue to be supported in a changed political landscape, and that the stories of gay and isolated young people continue to be heard.
Socrates is powerful piece of cinema that reflects a realism in the struggles of young people in inner city Brazilian society. A multi layered film exploring grief, identity and societal failures in protecting future generations. This is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Country: Brazil 🇧🇷
Director: Alex Moratto