Gabriel’s arrival seems to coincide with Leo’s quest to finally break free and see if the school-exchange problem will also accept him so that he can live and study in another country. The news of this sends his mother into a fit, but his more amenable father is at least open to considering the idea which he tells Leo in one of the most touching of scenes in this very gentle coming of age story.
Leo’s quest for independence is part of his journey about discovering who he really is, and he seems totally surprised when he realises that part of this is his attraction for Gabriel. As the boys friendship grows into something much deeper, neither of them can trust their judgements in revealing their feelings to each other, even after a stolen peck on the cheek after a drunken party.
There is nothing at all extraordinary in the plot-lines of this wee movie, but somehow it has the most endearing quality that makes it so immensely enjoyable. There is a remarkable innocence to this group of young people who all seem never to have even been kissed, and even the inclusion of Leo’s taunting by the bullies in his class has no hint of any real hatred. There are some really nice touches of humor and tenderness, none more so than when Gabriel insists that Leo learns how to dance. What does make it all so compelling is the captivating performances of the three young lead actors, particularly Ghilherme Lobo who was so pitch perfect as the blind boy.
This very cute debut feature from Brazilian writer/director Daniel Ribeiro was based on his award-winning short ‘Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho’ with the same actors, and has gone on to, quite rightly, win two major accolades from the Berlinale : the FIPRESCI Prize and The TEDDY for Best LGBT Feature. It is about to hit the Film Festival circuit where it will so easily win over a lot of hearts too. Especially the closing scenes.