There aren’t enough films like Inferninho. It’s a small tale with an immense capacity for empathy. Set almost entirely in the titular bar that caters to a group of outsiders, which counts among its staff and clientele a rabbit, a silver man, and a mustached lady. Through costumes and lighting, this run-down bar and its inhabitants take on a unique beauty.

Yamamoto’s lead performance as Deusimar, the proprietor of Inferninho, is exquisite. She inhabits a character rife with the contradictions typical of a vulnerable queer person. She is supremely confident in running her business yet dares not step outside of it; a staunch individualist who nonetheless craves something resembling a normal life. Her love for handsome sailor Jarbas (Lopes) draws out both her strength and vulnerability.

Although this is Deusimar’s story, the film is very much about the spaces queer and other marginalised groups carve out for themselves in an oppressive society. The bar is dingy, and the singer Luizianne (De Lavor) is off-key, but Inferninho provides a much-needed safe space in a dangerous world. The film comes from Brazil, a country which last year experienced a 30% spike in anti-LGBT violence. Economically vulnerable trans women like Deusimar are particularly susceptible to such violence, and this goes some way to explain her fear of leaving the bar, and her desperate longing to escape her circumstances abroad. With this in mind, Inferninho also highlights the immense vulnerability these rare havens face from two sides of the same coin: capitalists and criminals.

By turns magical and sobering, Inferninho is a beautiful queer tale about odd balls. The low budget aesthetic is a tribute to the spaces that poor, marginalised communities create for themselves, in a world that would rather see them destroyed. Inferninho is sincere and deserves to be cherished dearly.

RATING: 4/5


INFORMATION

CAST: Yuri Yamamoto, Demick Lopes, Samya De Lavor

DIRECTORS: Pedro Diogenes, Guto Parente

WRITERS: Pedro Diogenes, Guto Parente, Rafael Martins

SYNOPSIS: In a bar called Inferninho, the staff dream of escape. A handsome sailor with a dream of finding home arrives.

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