& Marcio Reolon
Tinta Bruta / Hand Paint
Originally published in 2020
Set in Brazil's southern city of Porto Alegre, 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 paints on his lithe body.
Hi Filipe & Márcio thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during the lockdown?
It hasn't been an easy time, especially here in Brazil with a lack of strategy to control the epidemic, added to political instability. We have spent this time between focusing on our work, online meetings with our friends, exercising, cooking and watching many films.
Is this time offering you new creative inspirations?
We are always looking for new stories and this whole Coronavirus situation leads our minds to new challenges and possibilities. However we were already working on the writing of two new features, so they are our priority right now. Also we have spent hours and hours watching movies, re-watching some classics, reading a lot, listening to music. That's mostly what we can do right now.
You had an incredible festival run with Tinta Bruta, was the reaction you got for this film something you had expected?
We put a lot of ourselves in our films, as well as a lot of work, so it's always beautiful to see a reception as warm as that of Tinta Bruta. We always try to be as honest as possible with the film we are making. It's a combination of things we really need to speak of with something we would like to watch. If the film is well received, great.
You won several awards including C.I.C.A.E. Award & Teddy Award Best Feature Film at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival 2018, what did it mean to you to get this type of recognition for your film?
It was incredible to receive this kind of recognition. It's very important for the release of the film and for our journey as filmmakers. And of course, we were very happy for winning awards that Derek Jarman, Pedro Almodóvar and Celine Sciamma have won before.
How did Tinta Bruta come about, what as the inspiration behind your screenplay?
Tinta Bruta came from the desire to talk about our relationship with our hometown Porto Alegre. How it became a cold, violent and unfriendly city. As we were in the process of writing, Brazil suffered several attacks on its democracy, which made us incorporate a lot of anger and despair in the narrative. In the end, it is a film that channels several important issues for us: abandonment, performance, collectivity, reaction and the relationship between the individual and the city.
As co-directors what was the experience working together on a feature like Tinta Bruta?
We have worked together since college, so there was nothing new in that regard. We really like this partnership, we think that our similarities and differences contribute a lot to our artistic process. In addition, a good part of our team is already with us from previous films, which makes us a large family that can understand each other at times with a simple look.
When writing a screenplay do you ever pull from your own live or experiences?
Yes, a lot. In some way or another the screenwriter always puts themselves in their scripts. Pedro's lack of belonging, the frequent departure of friends and family, anger and fear, were all with us. Of course, not in the way that Pedro faces them or in the same situations, but we look inside ourselves for emotional and affective material to build our characters.
Being both co-writers and co-director do you like to stick to your script or are you flexible and open to changes/ideas from your actors?
We work on the script a lot before starting rehearsals. And we continue to work on it once rehearsals start, because the characters gain more layers and peculiarities as the actors embody them. There are some moments that we purposely leave some elements open to see what the shooting experience will provide, but in general the script is already well structured, worked, with developed characters, etc. Just as we take the work of the actor very seriously, we also take the craft of the screenwriter that way.
What was the biggest challenges you faced making this film?
Making a film is always tough. There are hundreds of people working to tell the same story, involving a complex structure and a long period of time. Tinta Bruta had a very beautiful process. Of course, it is a low budget, so we were always on a tight schedule and studying where we should invest the money, but in general the memories are quite happy. We remember that we had a lot of tests to understand how we would like to conceive the virtual world within the film. This was a specificity of Tinta Bruta that we had not faced before. The neon paint was also tricky. After each take the actors would have to shower and wash off all the paint. And even when they looked clean, sometimes in the middle of a take the neon light would reveal some body paint we could not see before. Then we would have to cut so it could be cleaned again.
"We used to work as actors, which is a way of telling stories, but we always wanted to write and direct films."
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Yes. Storytelling, in general, is something that guides our lives. We used to work as actors, which is a way of telling stories, but we always wanted to write and direct films. It was at film school that we met. Marcio continues to act (he even plays in Tinta Bruta, as one of the guys who attack Pedro), so he continues to enjoy both universes.
Has your style and approach to your films changed much since your debut?
Most of our central interest in making films remains the same, but we seek different aesthetic and narrative choices for each film. If you watch Beira-Mar (our first feature) and Tinta Bruta, one after the other, you can see that they are by the same directors, but the way of seeing the world (and experiencing it in an aesthetic perspective) changes with each work .
Do you have any advice or tips to offer an emerging filmmaker?
Focus on what gives you pleasure. Tell stories that interest you and in a way that interests you. That it feels urgent (and not necessarily just politically, but aesthetically too). And always be honest. We believe that if you do that, something true and unique will always be present in your films.
And finally, how important is it for LGBTQ filmmakers to continue to push the boundaries with their films?
That's one of the very essences of queer cinema: pushing boundaries.