Dry Wind ***
Starring: Leandro Faria Lelo, Allan Jacinta Santana, Renata Carvalo, Rafael Teóphilo
Director: Daniel Nolasco
Middle-aged Sandro (Lelo) lives a boring life, working at a fertiliser factory. He lives in a hot and arid region of Brazil and passes the long summer nights in bars or at small parties with his colleagues, or having sex in the woods with his workmate Ricardo (Santana). When Maicon (Teóphilo) appears in the community, a handsome and hyper-masculine hunk, Sandro becomes incredibly jealous as Ricardo hits it off with him straight away. Sandro starts to stalk the pair, all the while being haunted by erotic but surreal dreams.
The film’s best moments are when Sandro is in pursuit, drenched in neon in bars and clubs, silently observing the pair’s sexualised behaviour. At times, this has the feeling of Cruising, watching unapologetically animal sex without comment or reaction. We see an animal stalking its prey, which is becomes all the more unsettling as it plays alongside the vivid dreams that plague our silent protagonist’s psyche.
It’s difficult to unpick your own motives while watching the film. It is unabashedly erotic, but Sandro is decidedly non-erotic, with his gaze disconcerting. We watch Ricardo and Maicon through the eyes of an angry voyeur, so the line between erotic fantasy and rising suspense is often so blurred it might as well not be there. It’s only in late scenes that a harsh reality intrudes on a narrative that has been becoming more and more fetishised. Are we rooting for Sandro to succeed? If so, succeed at what? If we were watching this story through the eyes of Ricardo, this is a romantic drama, but through the eyes of Sandro, this is decidedly much more sinister.
OUT NOW TO WATCH ON DEMAND ON DEKKOO, RELEASED BY TLA RELEASING.