To say Daniel Nolasco’s debut feature Dry Wind is sexually explicit is kind of like saying the weather in the dusty remote Brazilian town where the drama is set is hot in the summer. True enough, but that only scratches the surface. In fact, Dry Wind gets downright pornographic in a few scenes, including the first of many clandestine trysts in the nearby forest between Sandro (Leandro Faria Lelo) and Ricardo (Allan Jacinto Santana), where the two attack each either like wild animals in heat.
Dry Wind (★★★★☆) focuses on Sandro, a handsome yet sad-sack protagonist who burns hot with sexual desire for other men but is too traumatized to even contemplate being public about it, much to the dismay of Ricardo. The two are co-workers at a factory that is one of the main employers in its small rural town, and things only intensify with the arrival of Maicon (Rafael Theophilo), a man straight out of a Tom of Finland fantasy whom Sandro openly ogles from the moment he first catches his eye. Sandro becomes dangerously obsessed, and from there everything gets cranked up, from the soap opera-esque antics to the fetishistic — and graphically unsimulated — sexual activity.
A Portuguese-language film fully subtitled in English, Dry Wind would benefit from greater character development and growth as well as refinements in plot. Yet as is, it’s exactly the kind of film that any other year would have packed in — and pleased — festivalgoers at a late-night theater screening. But even a solitary viewing of it at home makes one appreciate Larry Machado’s gorgeously rendered, vivid cinematography, which helps ensure Dry Wind is as visually stunning as it is erotically charged. Which is another way of saying the film is as handsome as its cast.
Dry Wind screens as part of this year’s Reel Affirmations Film Festival. For more information about the festival or to purchase tickets or festival screening passes, visit https://reelaffirmations.eventive.org.
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