HOJE EU QUERO VOLTAR SOZINHO: From blind loves, hidden, simplified

Orianna Calderón from Guadalajara Talent Press 2014, reviews Daniel Ribeiro's film HOJE EU QUERO VOLTAR SOZINHO.


In his first feature film, HOY QUIERO VOLVER SOLO (Today I want to go alone) Daniel Ribeiro explores recurring themes in the teen cinema as the sexual awakening, the construction of identity and the desire of independency.

The movie opens with a zenith overhead shot of two bodies lying face down next to a pool; it is Leonardo (Gilherme Lobo) and Giovana (Tess Amorim), two teens in the awakening of the slumber of the holidays. He is blind and she, his childhood friend and classmate that is secretly in love with him.The same zenith overhead angle of the pool is seen again later, but this time there are three bodies lying around the pool; Gabriel (Fabio Audi) a new classmate, entered their lives.That curly hair youngster detonates a love triangle that resembles Xavier Dolan´s: LOS AMORES IMAGINARIOS (Imaginary love 2010) where the similarities in the lay out relaxes the rigid link between sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

The three characters and the premise of the film were already present in NO QUIERO VOLVER SOLITO (I don´t want to go back all alone) short film directed by Ribeiro in 2010. At the press conference of the 29th Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara, México´s premiere of HOY QUIERO VOLVER SOLO (Today I want to go back alone) the producer Daniela Almeida explained that the short worked as a teaser for the financing of the actual feature film.This previous work had a positive impact on the chemistry on screen of the actors but also makes clear the contrast with the lack of development of secondary characters like Leonardo's parents or classmates, diligent and sharp watchers of the "normal". Initially, the conflict is the surfeit of Leonardo by feeling dependant. This leads him to look for small changes in repetitive actions (like the way back home) and to consider the possibility of going overseas in an exchange program. That is when, by a common narrative strategy with its conventional romantic love; arrives the beloved savior in the form of Gabriel that, with his music of Belle & Sebastian and his absurd invitations to see eclipses interrupts Leonardo´s classical music routine.

The relationship that begins to emerge between them is portrayed with tenderness and tension, but always in a very contained form.The end of the film, which recalls the coming out –literal- of the closet of the teen dykes on FUCKING AMAL (Lukas Moodysson, 1998), presents the three characters-Leonardo, Gabriel and Giovana-walking together after overcoming the love triangle and then when being verbally attacked by his homophobic classmate, the teens respond holding hands. "I made the movie I wanted to see when I was sixteen; to see that it is possible to be happy being gay, same (sic) in a society that oppresses” expressed the Brazilian filmmaker at the FICG press conference. A movie where being out the heterosexual box does not leads inevitably on the characters punishment, but if in one hand the love relationship of the characters has a "happy" ending that possibly generates empathy in a wide audience and provides a positive representation of homosexuality in cinema, in the other hand the simplicity with which conflicts are resolved can be camouflage by the complex oppressions of hetero-normality. Recognized with the Berlinale at theTeddy Awards in 2014, HOY QUIERO VOLVER SOLO (Today I want to go back alone), is a well made teen puppy love film, but there is a sense that the inner life of the characters,their motivational axes, may have been evolved in more depth without the obvious resources.There are also sequences, like the Leonardo´s dream that require a better sense of reality.However, I think the film is consistent with the objective that Ribeiro said she had raised. A story has been told to us that probably more of one homosexual boy of sixteen would have appreciated on the big screens in past decades.

Technical sheet: HOJE EU QUERO VOLTAR SOZINHO (Today I want to go back alone). Direction and screen play: Diana Almeida andDaniel Ribeiro. Interpreters/traductors: Ghilherme Lobo, Tess Amorim, Fabio Audi. Brazil, 2014.

By Orianna Calderón