Body Electric: Film review by Jack Cline

From Brazil, this film has a seriously sexy vibe as it follows a young guy through his everyday life. There isn’t much of a plot, but the loose approach is engaging as filmmaker Marcelo Caetano casually makes some provocative comments on the day-to-day routine of a young gay man who enjoys his job, friends, drinking and sex, and doesn’t worry about tomorrow.

This central figure is Elias (Keiner Macedo), a friendly 23 year old who works as an assistant to the manager of a clothing factory. After work, he hangs out with the employees in a bar, then carries on at someone’s home before staggering home drunk. His best friend is queeny twink colleague Wellington (Lucas Andrade), who introduces Elias to a posse of sassy drag queens. And while he’s still in touch with his wealthy ex, Arthur (Ronaldo Serruya), Elias is also sleeping with various guys he meets along the way. He also befriends a hot new employee, a West African immigrant named Fernando (Welket Bungue).

All of this unfolds in a beautifully, sensually shot documentary style as Caetano follows Elias around. There isn’t a story as such; instead the film is an exploration of how Elias sees the world. For example, when his boss criticises him for being too friendly with the lower-level staff, Elias just ignores him. That’s because these relationships are what life is about for him, including the freedom to express himself sexually with whoever he wants.

It’s rare to see this kind of open attitude depicted so realistically on-screen, and Macedo is simply magnetic to watch due to his relaxed physicality and seriously charming smile. Seeing him connect with everyone else is lusty and involving. And it’s also nice to have a potentially cliched character like Wellington played with some surprising depth by Andrade. But then everyone on screen has an offhanded earthiness that feels strikingly realistic.

Caetano is exploring a world in which there are no boundaries, and this approach gives the film a blast of energy. His intent was to tell a story about people who aren’t afraid of sex or sexuality, and it’s refreshing to see these kinds of people depicted on-screen for a change. In some ways it feels a little idealistic, but that’s also what makes the movie a must-see.

Body Electric is out on DVD/VOD from Peccadillo

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