The less said about this trailer for From Beginning to End (Do Começo ao Fim) the better, other than it’s certifiably the most ridiculous thing I’ve encountered in quite some. Just watch it and remember that this is an actual movie and an actual story that people felt committed to tell because they see it as having serious, artistic merit. Also, before you click play and watch this, prepare to have your brain melt and then spew out through your ears. Seriously, you’ve been warned:
Ermmm….neat? And also, HUH???
Perhaps this is simply an example of a movie that touches on a taboo that I can’t even wrap around my head, but I’m willing to bet that the large majority of the world would equally agree with my sentiments that this is kinda creepy. I could even see this movie as trying to be more a metaphor for the broader socially forbidden love of homosexuality, but that doesn’t really work because we don’t need an extra layer of uncomfortable icing on our sexual taboo cake. Homosexuality still holds enough of a taboo in mainstream film to where it’s pretty a shortcake: you just add some strawberries (like being a cowboy in Brokeback Mountain) and then serve. From Beginning to End is too much of everything, though, and so it looks like it’s a multi-tiered cake of various taboos that’ll inevitably collapse in on itself.
That said, I totally appreciate any movie that’s seeking to confront what we perceive as right and wrong in order to make us evaluate our moral codes and social fabrics. I could and should be capable of treating this movie as a serious endeavor that demands an intelligent, open-minded discussion about cultural sexual mores, but instead I just keep replaying this trailer in awe of how–in spite of its polished direction and competent performances and attractive male leads and Philip Glassian score (and I do so love my Philip Glassian scores, y’all)–this movie looks so epically trashy!
Incest is one of those topics that remains in such an outer stratosphere of taboo that it’s nigh impossible to present it sincerely. There’s too much explicit shock value to not garner an immediate reaction like “You cannot be serious!” or “REALLY?!?!?”; after this reactionary wall’s put up, the rest of the film becomes little more than an exercise in button-pushing, a testament to the audience’s ability to bear spectacle to the movie’s cheap and uncomfortable titillations. Like a train wreck, you know you shouldn’t watch, but you also know you can’t turn away. You’ll finish the movie without any introspection and instead leave with a pithy, inconsequential retort like “What ridiculous garbage!” or “That’s movie was batshit crazy, but you should totally see it.” In short, it becomes empty (albeit camp/cult) trash, full of ironic value but devoid of legitimate meaning.
Maybe I’m wrong, though, and we’ll finish the movie (provided it ever gets any theatrical, or even DVD, release in the US) saying, “My, what an insightful and touching portrayal of a topic I’d never given any serious consideration before today.” I’d imagine this movie probably effectively humanizes the plight of these two individuals, and maybe we’ll all even shed a tear in the final frames, but probably only after our eyeballs have fallen out of our heads from all the constant rolling they’ll be doing. That, or you’ll just stop watching after 15 minutes ‘cos the subject matter freaks your shit out waaay too much.
Either way, From Beginning to End pretty much looks like what happens when foreign movies decide to put on their classiest pair of denim-cut-off trashalicious short shorts. Yes, friends, Brazilian cinema does it better, and by “it” I mean art-house trash.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve an overwhelming urge for some Fogo de Chão.
Cheers to Videogum for leading me to this ridicupalooza.