Hard Paint
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Hard Paint

Alienation is the main theme of “Hard Paint,” a brooding tale of isolation in the internet age set in Brazil’s southern city of Porto Alegre. Designed to be as On My Skin much a mood piece as a dramatic narrative, the film focuses on a socially repressed young man who only comes out of his shell during chatroom performances, when he strips and smears neon paint on his lithe body. Co-directors Filipe Matzembacher and Marco Reolon (“Seashore”) play with moments of eroticism but this isn’t a flesh-and-fantasy frolic; rather, it’s a melancholic look at how the consequences of bullying, the burden of being different, and the artificial construct of internet chats break down social bonds. Winning Berlin’s Teddy Award guarantees a certain amount of play on the pink circuit, though the film’s length will be a justifiable cause for complaint.

When first seen, Pedro (Shico Menegat) is a timid, emotionally shut down guy in his late teens accompanied by his older sister Luiza (Guega Peixoto) at a legal hearing to discuss Wild Rose a possible plea bargain on an assault charge. At this stage the details are murky, but it’s clear that Luiza, on the eve of moving north, is concerned about leaving her brother alone in Porto Alegre. She’s fine with how he earns an income, stripping in front of the computer as alter ego NeonBoy and taking requests from cyber fans, but before going, she urges him to make sure he leaves the apartment every day, even if only for five minutes.

Pedro’s perturbed on learning there’s another webcam model in Porto Alegre using neon paint in his performances, so he arranges a meeting. Leo (Bruno Fernandes) is his opposite: Downsizing Playful, outgoing and ambitious, he has set up his chat room to bring in extra money while searching for a dance scholarship abroad. Together, they do an online session and rake in viewers, but Pedro is angered that subscribers now aren’t interested in his solo act.

Duration: 118 min

Release:

IMDb: 7.3

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