The beach, the sea, and the city all serve as backdrops for the journey that Donato takes. But the reasons and whys behind his actions are left to the viewer as few things are made explicit in this film.
Synopsis from Amazon: “Donato works as a lifeguard at the spectacular but treacherous Praia do Futuro beach in Brazil; Konrad is an ex-military thrill-seeker from Germany vacationing with a friend. After Donato saves Konrad from drowning, but fails to save his other friend, initial sexual sparks give way to a deeper, emotional connection. Donato decides to leave everything behind, including his ailing mother and younger brother, Ayrton, to travel back to Berlin with Konrad.”
This film is full of themes that are both apparent and yet not fully explored. It’s a film that lets the viewer take away from it what they will because it doesn’t just hand it over to you like other films. In some cases this makes the film all the more interesting and involved. In other moments the viewer might just wonder what the heck is going on.
We see Donato struggling with his life. He’s just experienced the first drowning where he was the one who was unable to save someone. He also appears to be conflicted about his sexuality – not in terms of knowing it but in living openly. He talks with his brother, Ayrton, about what would happen if he were to just disappear. It’s obvious that Ayrton doesn’t want that to happen.
Konrad has lost his friend, but seems to have gained a lover. Donato follows him to Germany, and the two connect and seem to establish a relationship. However, I’m not sure I understood their relationship. They seem to have a lot of sex, but I’m not sure how they connect beyond that besides that they both seem to be looking for something in their lives as they put the past behind them.
At one point I wrote in my notes that Donato was thinking about something. I could take several guesses as to what, but I’m not sure exactly. His brother? Konrad? The beach? All of the above? I also noted that in some films, it is at this type of pause that we are drawn into the character and what they are thinking and feeling. In this case, I was more confused than anything.
The flip side of this is that you could take many different things from the many drawn out scenes that don’t explicitly tell you anything. It means more of the viewer is a part of the film taking what meaning they will. And the film gives plenty of backdrop, clues, and visual cues to extrapolate what more is going on beyond what anyone might be saying.
There is a theme here about reinventing yourself and the turmoil and costs associated with doing so. How does one part of you disappear and then become someone else without losing other, valued parts of your life? Here Donato gains a relationship and a different life, but loses his friends and family. In the end we ask, was it worth it?
I also see the pain that Ayrton is going through having lost his brother, his idol. He thinks that Donato has forgotten about him as he left his old life. It’s obvious that Donato has not forgotten, but certainly he has not included his little brother in his new life, and Ayrton pays a price for that.
What do I take away from this film? For me it’s about making careful decisions about how I change my life in the future and knowing what’s important to me. There are changes I want to see in my life, but not at the cost of my family.
If you like films that leave a lot open to the viewer this would be a good one to see. But if long, drawn out (beautiful) scenes where not a lot seems to happen drive you over the edge, I don’t think this movie will appeal to you.