Cousins – these boys have gone way past kissing
Written and directed by Thiago Cazado, Cousins – Primos – is a charming queer film from Brazil.
Young Lucas (Paulo Sousa) lives with his religious Aunt Lourdes in a quiet country town – helping her by playing hymns on his keyboard for their weekly church meetings at their house. However, when the charitable aunt announces the arrival of her nephew Mario (Thiago Cazado), things start to get interesting.
Lucas and Mario were previously unaware of each other’s existence. While Lucas has been leading a quiet life, Mario is fresh out of jail – he’s clearly the bad boy of the family.
The sexual tension between the two boys builds quickly, and it doesn’t take long before the clothes come off and passion takes hold.
This is a film with a comedic lightness similar to French comedies. There’s a timelessness or dream-like quality to the film. Cazado does well to multi-task his roles as both actor and director, and he’s ultimately delivered a watchable and entertaining film.
I caught up with Thiago Cazado for a behind-the-scenes look at Cousins.
What was your inspiration for this story?
I wanted to make a love story that defied moral standards. But I wanted to do this in a light way that ended well. Something fun, with a happy ending, that brought people together and met a recurring request from the audience to see a happy ending in a gay movie.
What was the production process?
I wrote the script two years ago – it took me about 20 days to write. Pre-production took three months, and filming took one month. After that, it was two months of post-production to finish.
What was the casting process?
We made a public casting call, and received a lot of submissions.
I read with a number of actors – we met with those who seemed most engaged with the story.
I was unsure which character I would be – I found both roles very interesting. However, the actor that we ultimately chose to play Lucas was younger than myself, and I thought it would be more convincing for me to play Mario as the slightly older of the two boys.
In your film About Us you also took on both the roles of director and actor – also with Mauro Carvalho as co-director. What did you learn from that experience that helped you with that balancing act in Cousins?
I learned a lot – about every aspect of film-making.
About Us created shortcuts to Cousins. I became more practical, more self-confident.
I’m a quiet and modest person, very understanding and patient. I like a laid-back set. I like to nurture generosity in art – to let the spontaneous moment find us, to let it flow. I’m not the type of director who needs the perfect scene.
I like to capture the moment when things happen, suddenly something wonderful appears, if it has to appear. And those moments do always shows up.
Mauro thinks like me, and helps me a lot in all processes of a production. We have very similar visions and Mauro is also very calm – it’s the perfect duo.
The current government in Brazil appears to be pushing the country to become more socially conservative, but this film has a timelessness that seems to distance itself from all of that. Is this a good time to be making queer films in Brazil?
Definitely not. Recently, the government has cut off any support for any film production. It’s a government that doesn’t care much about culture. It’s sad, but this is the moment that our audience in Brazil needs us.
I believe that this is also why Cousins went viral in Brazil, with a lot of public support and visibility on the internet.
The internet is my home – I’m very happy to be able to reach the public through it and help many people have their moment of identification.
I’m sure that things will get better.
What do you hope that people feel when watching Cousins?
I hope they have a good time, that they can laugh, identify, be inspired to believe in love, believe that we can be who we are, love who we want, and be loved by our family.
Finally, I hope that people realise that hypocrisy and lack of understanding will never win.