Close to You (Perto de Você)
Cássio Kelm, Brazil 2021
At the start of the corona pandemic, the young transmasculine filmmaker Cássio Kelm ends up isolated in a small apartment with his elderly father. Cássio has not told him about the hormone therapy he’s having. By filming the two of them together in their everyday lives, he tries to get closer to his father.
The subtle film calmly tells a layered story about a personal transition, a new family situation, and Brazilian politics. Their daily routine is interwoven with wider social and personal changes; chores like doing the laundry blend naturally with fragments of news programs about Bolsonaro and overcrowded hospitals.
”Sahar, my daughter. I want to say that I’m sorry” says a broken voice on a crackling cassette tape. The voice belongs to Sahar’s mother, a woman who married a mentally disabled man and had a child, in her own words, for selfish reasons. Sahar’s mother has died of cancer and left behind her father, and she is now expected to dedicate her life to being his caretaker. But Sahar’s own dreams do not match with this fate. She wants to go to university, and to play volleyball.
If her father would remarry, the responsibility for his care would shift from his daughter to his new wife. Potential wives start arriving to the house, and at first, the full truth about his condition is hidden from them. Still, Sahar will not accept just anybody to be her father’s new bride. She wants him to find someone who will care about him despite his disability. So, once a suitable candidate is finally found, she marches over to her to open up about her father’s condition.
Accompanied by melancholy Middle Eastern music, director Yaser Talebi carefully portrays the life and inner struggles of a young woman who has grown up in a small Iranian village. On Instagram, Sahar wants to appear beautiful and desirable, but in reality, she is struggling not only with conservative relatives, but with herself as well. Sahar loves her father and is perhaps the only person who understands him, but at the same time, she does not want to let go of her dreams of going to university and having her own life away from the village she grew up in.
Sissi Korhonen (translated by Mira Sairanen)