Sometimes you think life throws too much at certain individuals. It is awful, but it makes for good cinema. The story of Socrates is an example of this. Socrates (Christian Malheiros – first film) is only 15-years-old, but because of his life situation he seems older. Life has been tough for this teenager.
Living in Sao Paulo, Brazil in poverty, Socrates’ life becomes even more precarious after the death of his only parent – his mother. Not willing to be put into the system, he attempts to support himself, survive in a very tough situation. Socrates is in debt and has been evicted from his home. Now, this young boy tries to support himself. Live his life on his own terms.
While working with other young men on a menial job he meets an older boy named Maicon (Tales Ordakji – first film). At first they butt heads, but eventually fall into a relationship. A romantic relationship. It is the first same sex relationship for Socrates. In the world they live in being gay is forbidden. Thought of as deviant. This makes Socrates struggle for survival even more precarious.
The film is stocked with at-risk teenagers. Not actors, but young people from low-income communities. The two leads, though Malheiros is a trained actor, are excellent, really add a layer of realism to the film. It alternates between realistic and moving. You see the struggle. In regards to sexual identity and poverty.
Seeing a young person put in a precarious position is heartbreaking. Socrates is forced to grow up young. His life situation forces his hand. He has to struggle for his own survival. Never given the chance to go through the “normal” teenager things. He now has to worry about money, shelter, food, and safety. With all this he is not allowed the time to mourn the death of the only person who loved him – his mother. Excellent portrayal of all this heavy stuff by trained actor Malheiros. He shows how Socrates wavers between being mature and youthful.
An intimate and compelling film. Despite the low budget it does what it has to to tell its tale. Really opens the viewers’ hearts and minds to the precarious place of many youth around the world.