MANIFF: Public Intimacy

Image courtesy of: MANIFF

Director: Luciana Canton


Public Intimacy is a Portuguese language film set in Brazil and set around four “taboo” relationships featuring homosexuality, prostitution, trans-sexuality and madness.

The film had a clear idea that this is what it wanted to portray from the outset and comes at it from a very non – exploitative and realist point of view; there are surreal elements, but for the most part, it keeps two feet firmly planted in reality. It was surprisingly experimental, with the overall runtime split into four short segments. The fact they are all by the same director and deal with some sort of relationship is the key unifying point to each.

The film does explore these rather well, however I did find a few minor presentational issues. For example, certain scenes come across as overly melodramatic and, with each segment of the film essentially a short, you aren’t given much time to become invested in the film’s characters. With only a 70 minute total runtime,  I would have liked some more time to understand individual characters motivations to their actions, especially in the second and final segments. Some of this may be down questionable dialogue, which is potentially a result of the film’s translation.

That said the whole film is beautifully shot. The first and third films for me are wonderful, with the performances across the board of a  high standard. Something worth noting is that this is the director, Luciana Canton’s, first feature and therefore represents a filmmaker beginning to find his voice and style. Public Intimacy, for all its flaws, is still an interesting start to a career.

Unlike other foreign language films, both from within MANIFF and outside, I don’t think that film would particularly appeal to a generic mainstream audience, but whether or not it attempts to is another debate entirely.


We teamed up with Humanity Hallows to bring you complete coverage of the Manchester International Film Festival. You can view the full list of reviews which is being updated as we post new content here.

Kieran Askew

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