Socrates is a powerfully written and directed Brazilian drama co-written, produced and acted by at-risk teenagers from local low-income communities, with the support of Unicef. Socrates (Christian Malheiros) suddenly has his life turned upside down when his mother dies. Being only fifteen years old, Socrates is suddenly thrust into the world of adulthood and realises that there is a lot ahead of him that he is unprepared to deal with. Socrates also finds out that the adult world is not prepared to deal with him either.
All Socrates needs is someone to help him through his complicated life, helping him find work, dealing with his absent father and getting through the grief for his mother, however he starts to realise that nobody will help him. Socrates is also dealing with his own emotions and finding out who he can trust when dealing with his own sexuality. Overall, Socrates has never been more alone.
Directed by award-winning short film director, Alexandre Moratto, Socrates is a tale of loss, grief, hopelessness and the struggle that children face when they suddenly have to cope with things that are difficult to deal with at such a young age. With help from teenagers from low-income Brazilian communities, Socrates paints a realistic picture of what could happen to any child at any time and perhaps anywhere in the world.
The events of the film and its tone are in no doubt inspired by the filmmakers’ own experiences, and whereas it may only skim the surface of what these children have to deal with, it still leaves a bitter taste in the audience’s mouths.
Being his first cinematic acting role, Malheiros is most certainly thrown into the deep end with the role of Socrates. However, he is able to keep his head above water and prove that he is just as capable as the rest of the cast. Faced with many difficult scenes, both physically and emotionally, Malheiros manages to keep his audience compelled by his story and even at the worst of times he maintains the audience’s sympathies towards his situation, which rapidly go from bad to worse. Malheiros is shown to be an actor with a good range and I am sure will have success in his future career.
Socrates can be a difficult film to watch at times but I believe it to be an important one to view. Although partially supported by Unicef, the film never feels like a public service announcement about the dangers that children face when they are left with nothing.
Instead, the film feels like a realistic depiction of a young man whose life quickly spirals out of control with very little he can do about it, never forcibly pulling at its audience’s heartstrings to get its message across.
Socrates shows its audience how easy it can be when we as a society let down our children, treating them like a problem to be swept away rather than finding a solution that could be so easily handled.
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