LGBT Review: Cousins (‘Primos’)

Brazilian romantic comic drama Cousins (Primos) from writer, star and director Thiago Cazado hits the spot thanks to charming central performances, an uplifting tone and positive message at its heart. The project is released under TLA Releasing UK on December 9th when it hits home video and on demand platforms. Cousins is the second feature film from Cazado, following his limited release picture, About Us.

Cousins sees Lucas (Paulo Sousa) find his quiet life in small town Brazil with his highly religious Aunt flipped when his distant cousin Mario (Cazado) arrives. Lucas’s life of piano tutoring and religious book clubs, soon becomes drastically changed when he and Mario’s gentle playful flirting turns into a heated sexual relationship.

Cazado co-directs with Mauro Carvalho producing a light-hearted and gently comic romp that provides a crowd-pleasing appeal. Finding humour in the set-up of the high camp religious family – an Aunt heavily involved in the church, family friends playing ill-advised advances on Lucas. Despite his closeted status, Lucas is the straight man (with a secret) navigating the over the top religious silliness of his home-life. Yet this quiet discreet life is warped by the arrival of Mario.

There’s an amusing dichotomy in Lucas and Mario, with Mario, the scrappy, former-prisoner, totally uninhibited compared to his repressed, almost straight-acting distant cousin. The odd couple dynamic, perfectly channelled in Sousa and Cazado’s richly comic performances, is engaging and well-pitched. Whilst there is humour in seeing the somewhat uptight, repressed Lucas being wound-up but his relaxed new roommate, there is also a convincing and touching bond portrayed by the two men.

Cazado’s narrative playfully builds up the sexual tension between the pair (reaching breaking point in a literal pressure cooker moment) in an amusing and genuinely sexy way. Pairing humour and gentle eroticism, leads to a successful combination that hits the required spot. Cousins also provides some satire on uptight religious upbringings that have lost their core values in tirades of faux-Christian judgement. It’s almost John Waters-esque in its satirisation of the worst of organised religion.

Cousins is a bright and breezy watch that has its heart in the right place. Taking a taboo concept and portraying it in an offbeat comic manner with warm performances and erotic direction makes for an exciting, impressive blend and impressive piece of queer cinema.

You can find out more about Cousins here.