Film recommendation: Sócrates

This moving film tells the story of a gay black teenager in Brazil, facing homelessness and discrimination for his sexuality after his mother’s sudden death.

Alexandre Moratto’s film opens with 15-year-old Sócrates trying to waken his mother, but she is dead. They had been living on the margins of society in São Paulo, and now the teenager must try to make ends meet without being returned to his father or placed in a foster home. He tries to look after himself, turning up to do his mother’s cleaning job and claiming she is ill. But when the truth emerges, he has to leave – he is underage and nobody can employ him.

He finds work in a junkyard but gets into a fight with co-worker Maicon who accuses him of trying too hard. But this inauspicious start leads to a developing relationship. Can it survive the precarious nature of life on the edges or the homophobia which surrounds them?

This debut feature was made on a micro-budget with the Querô Institute in Brazil where it was co-written, produced, and acted by at-risk teenagers with the support of UNICEF. What makes this tough, realistic story stand out on top of that is the excellent acting, the beauty of its shots and its approach to the harshness of life, recognising that the struggle is not just about paying your rent and putting food in your mouth, but the emotional toll of battling inequality and a lack of love and support.

The film is available in cinemas and on streaming services.

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