Dark Star Pictures will be releasing The First Fallen, a queer drama about the beginning of the AIDS pandemic in ’80s Brazil, in theatres come February 10, 2023, and on Digital on February 21, 2023.
I get that not all of us are into watching queer films that seem to “exploit” the AIDS crisis and are all about emotionally gut-punching viewers. However, I also feel that it’s important that a crucial part of queer history not be forgotten. And besides, as far as my opinion goes, I am here for a different perspective when it comes to AIDS-centric stories due to the global impact. The fact that The First Fallen will be focusing on ’80s Brazil has captured my interest.
From writer/director Rodrigo de Oliveira, The First Fallen has experienced a respectable film festival run. That makes me assume that the narrative is well-written. I did enjoy the UK’s perspective in the masterful It’s a Sin. So, let’s see what the Brazilian perspective offers.
The story takes place at the turn of 1983 in a small Brazilian town where a group of queer people celebrate the New Year without knowing what’s to come. We get to see biologist Suzano (Johnny Massaro) realize that something terrible is attacking his body. Being uncertain about his future and desperate due to the lack of information, Suzano gets into contact with transgender artist Rose (Renata Carvalho) and videomaker Humberto (Vitor Camilo), both of them are also ill. The trio tries to survive the first wave.
Here’s the emotionally charged trailer!
From what I could judge from the promo, it looks like the narrative will be about accepting one’s fate and finding beauty in life as the clock runs out. I guess we should be ready to hear what it really means to be alive.
As a project, The First Fallen seems to be quite close to Rodrigo de Oliveira. He shared, “The first time I understood the word “gay” could describe me, the word “plague” was already intrinsically attached to it. The people I wanted to be as a kid were dying on TV, and I was told that for every pop idol in the spotlight, there were hundreds of thousands in the darkness, invisible. Those were my elders, and yet I was denied their humanity.”
He added, “AIDS is not only a subject to explore, but the very foundation of my identity, of the identity of every LGBTQIA+ person, as tragic as it is transformative. To film those first bodies, to listen to those first voices, to rally behind those first radicals, it’s to reject that invisibility. The First Fallen is the loving imagination of lineage, the invention of my family tree. A film about the dream of being yourself fully, whatever weight the world puts on your shoulders; about the importance of community and the support from our chosen family. The stories never told deserve a place at the forefront. These characters created the possibility of me, not the other way around.”
So, yeah, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, while I get that some people might feel that there’s no need for any more AIDS stories in media, there are also creatives like de Oliveira who put forth a very strong case for why such stories still need to be told.
For those interested in supporting such a project, The First Fallen will hit theatres on February 10, 2023. It will be available on DVD and On Demand on February 21, 2023.
Will you be watching it?
Feel free to let us know.
(via press release)
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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