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HBR Fest: Paulista

Roberto Moreira's new film Paulista (meaning someone from São Paulo) is an ensemble piece, following three connected stories. Aspiring actress Marina (Sílvia Lourenço) arrives in São Paulo with dreams of independence and fulfillment. She shares an apartment with Suzana (Maria Clara Spinelli), a lawyer who was born a man. A few floors up lives Jay (Fábio Herford), a frustrated writer seeking for meaning in his life. At a nightclub, Marina becomes obsessed with a singer, Justine (Danni Carlos). At the courthouse, Suzana begins a relationship with a colleague, Gil (Gustavo Machado). In the streets, Jay takes a prostitute named Michelle (Leilah Moreno) as his muse. I really liked the tone that the director establishes. It is a somber film about lost love and the loneliness of a big city, recalling the work of Wong Kar-Wai. The dreamy cinematography is wonderful and is the first Brazilian production to be shot on the RED camera. It also marks one of the first times a transgender character has been played by an actual transgender actress and its an amazing performance that will break your heart. It just had its Los Angeles premiere at the Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival, where it took home awards for best actress (Maria Clara Spinelli) and best film.