Mãe Só Há Uma (Don’t Call Me Son)
12th October 2016 9.00pm at Prince Charles Cinema
13th October 2016 12.45pm at BFI Southbank (NFT)
Mãe Só Há Uma (Don’t Call Me Son) is a Brazilian-made movie of a mere 82 minutes in length. A work by Anna Muylaert, who was previously known for 2015’s acclaimed The Second Mother, the film is a brief but dignified discovery into the life of someone who finds out he was stolen as an infant.
That “someone” is Pierre Almeida (Naomi Nero), a teenage boy with an affinity for behaviour, makeup, and clothing that challenge the traditional gender boundaries of society, who has practically no interest in school and partakes in drugs. His life is wildly disrupted when his imposter mother (Dani Nefussi) is jailed for having abducted him and his sister from the hospital. The siblings get separated, and they are obliged to return to their respective families.
Don’t Call Me Son is precisely what you would expect from the title: a struggling adolescent coming to accept the new reality he is in. It is told from Pierre’s – or rather Felipe’s (his real given name at birth) – perspective and therefore might appear dissociative as an accurate reflection of his inner turmoil. Against his will, he must adjust to an enthusiastic new family who finds it challenging to accept his lifestyle themselves.
The movie has a pleasant aesthetic to it, and there is a consistent use of close-ups that are intercepted by shots allowing for the entirety of the action to be taken in. Often seemingly mundane actions are depicted that are mostly focused on being with family. The camera also has a tendency for unsteadiness, like during the disillusioning scene where the extended family holds a welcome party for him.
The performances in Mãe Só Há Uma (Don’t Call Me Son) are solid, and the overbearingness of Pierre’s biological relatives – especially his mother – is a nice approach to get the audience to sympathise with the boy. The movie’s ending conveys this perfectly and is utterly bittersweet.
Mãe Só Há Uma (Don’t Call Me Son) does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Mãe Só Há Uma (Don’t Call Me Son) here: