Hard Paint (Tinta Bruta)
The latest project written and directed by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolin, Hard Paint is a coming-of-age story of sorts that follows the troubled and socially repressed Pedro (Shico Menegat), charting his attempt to find his way in life in the wake of a criminal trial after he violently assaults a classmate at a nightclub. Resorting to an isolated life indoors, he expresses himself by erotically painting his body in a chatroom, a path which leads him to meet Leon (Bruno Fernandes), a dance student who helps nudge Pedro further out of his shell. Although the feature is brazen and daring in its vision of sexuality and empowerment, the script unfortunately doesn’t delve deep enough into the protagonist’s psyche in order for the subject matter to resonate as much as its creators intended.
The film’s greatest accomplishment is undoubtedly found in the performances of Menegat and Fernandes, who make up for a large bulk of the emotional and narrative core. Like the slathering of body paint, the muted tones of Menegat’s quiet intensity mixes and blends with Fernandes’s more vibrant charismatic persona to create something much more captivating. Watching their relationship evolve alongside the physical onscreen chemistry between the two leads is a sheer pleasure. But it’s spoiled to a degree by a muddled script.
During the picture, it’s evident the filmmakers want to squeeze in as much as they can to enrich an already solid narrative. Issues surrounding bullying, homophobia, suicide, family and the judicial system crop up throughout; not that the points raised are irrelevant within the feature’s context or handled poorly – in fact, many moments are rather poetic. The problem is they’re never addressed again, serving merely as brief distractions rather than ground-breaking revelations, but – more crucially – they detract from Pedro’s tumultuous emotional journey, which often goes no further than the surface level.
Likewise, there’s a narcissistic and self-indulgent quality to be found within the presentation. While the imagery is bold (insofar as to be borderline pornographic) in its depiction of sexuality, the camera lingers on these moments far too long and relies on the shock value of this explicit content to speak louder than the human story surrounding it.
While never venturing into unwatchable territory, Hard Paint is a unique and fascinating character study that’s unfortunately conflated by an overcrowded script and overshadowed by its own sense of spectacle.
Hard Paint (Tinta Bruta) is released in select cinemas on 2nd August 2019.
Watch the trailer for Hard Paint (Tinta Bruta) here: