Socrates (Review)

(Sócrates)

Alexandre Moratto’s debut feature is both a both a stunning and emotional journey into bereavement, isolation and family breakdown. Set against a backdrop of emerging sexuality and hidden desire that defies the usual stereotypes of LGBTQ cinema. Produced by the Quero Institute in Brazil with support from UNICEF. Socrates not only empowers ‘at risk’ young people as producers, co-writers and actors. But also creates a realism that has documentary like precision and control. While equally reflecting the thin line between poverty and security in inner city Brazil.

Filmed on an extremely low budget with young people as creative leads. This is a film that captures the personal journey of a 15 year old boy (Christian Malheiros) as he navigates devastating change, oppression and homelessnesses. While also mourning the loss of his mother, who was not only his rock, but also his stability and security.

Adding to this personal and social turmoil is the emerging sexuality and desire of our lead. Consequently increasing his vulnerability and isolation at the hands of homophobia. While a distant and tumultuous relationship with his absent father offers no hope of security. Due to Socrates not embodying the sexual desires his father expects in a son.

Socrates does however find an emotional and physical connection with local man who works as a labourer. Their passionate meetings and love making hiding a secret in plain sight. One that not only reflects the bravery of Socrates but also shines a light on the toxic masculinity of repressed desire.

The impact of Socrates comes from an unforced realism that seeps through every scene. As its unknown cast of young performers provide a depth and sincerity rarely seen in films of this genre. Reflecting back to the audience the choices forced upon young people by social structures lacking opportunity and care. With the impact only further deepened by the recent political changes in Brazil. Changes that will only increase isolation for LGBTQ young people.

Director: Alexandre Moratto

Cast: Christian MalheirosTales OrdakjiCaio Martinez Pacheco 


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