Fernando Grostein, from ‘Breaking the taboo’, releases doc about Bolsonaro and talks about ‘catastrophic’ masculinity

When he moved to the United States in 2019, Fernando Grostein Andrade was welcomed by a neighbor and heard the following message: “If you need me to shoot something, just call me.” The American, proud to have guns at home, did not know that the Brazilian had left his native country — alongside her husband, actor Fernando Siqueira — due to violent threats he received (and still receives) on Tupiniquim soil.

A 41-year-old from São Paulo, soft-spoken and clear-eyed, Fernando Grostein has been the target of intimidation for a little over a decade, when he released “Quebrando o Taboo” (2011), a documentary about the legalization of marijuana that has unfolded in other successful projects. , as a series on GNT and social media pages with over ten million followers. The attacks — intensified after the filmmaker revealed he was homosexual, in “Cê already felt like an ET?” (2017) — became more serious in 2018, during the presidential elections that put Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in power. At the time, in one of the anonymous messages, he was warned that, if he did not stop talking about politics, “his wake would be with his coffin closed”.

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All this is relevant information for those who watch “Quebrando mitos”, released the day before yesterday, free of charge, through the website quebrandomitos.com.br. Documentary about Brazil today, the production conceived by Grostein and directed in partnership with her husband could only be filmed with both of them outside the country, self-exiled, as they lament.

with magnifying glass

The narrative traces the trajectory of Jair Bolsonaro from his childhood in Eldorado, a small town in the Ribeira Valley, to the consecration as head of the nation who proclaimed himself “imbrochable” and led a chorus with the word, for himself, in the celebrations of the last 7th of December. September. Grostein’s intention is to unravel what he defines as “catastrophic” masculinity, one that walks around with a gun in its belt and causes damage to a community – and not just another individual.

— I remember when they put carnations in the cannons, in the Carnation Revolution (in Portugal). That’s more or less what I’m looking for,” he emphasizes. — There has been so much talk about an arms culture in Brazil. But the weapon must not be a life object. The masculine became oppression and abuse. We propose a new discussion about what it means to be a man. Male doesn’t need to hold a gun to be male.

No wonder Grostein decided to speak up. The leading voice of the feature film — which extols movements and figures that have resisted, in the last four years, facts such as the increase in the destruction of forests, the increase in the vulnerability of indigenous people and the presence of militias — the director sews remembrances of his experience as a gay man, in contrast to the history of those who target him.

“I understood that it was important to be very transparent about the point of view from which the film was based, so that people would understand where there were blind spots and where we spoke with knowledge of the facts,” explains Grostein, who added an autobiographical bias to the work after talking to the filmmakers. colleagues and filmmakers Sérgio Machado and Cao Guimarães, as well as composer Antônio Pinto.

Son of journalist Mário de Andrade, who was the publisher of the defunct “Playboy”, and brother of presenter Luciano Huck, Fernando Grostein grew up surrounded by photographs of naked women. At dinners at home, he listened to negotiations about which model would be featured in the next issue of the magazine. For a long time, he pursued the ideal of the “toxic male”, as he puts it. At the age of 10, after seeing his father die, victim of a heart attack, he became enchanted by orchids when he came across a flower blooming. He studied plants and joined the Sociedade Bandeirante de Orquidófilos, where his best friends were 80 years old. At 12, he was the subject of a report on “SP-TV”, on Globo. At school, he was nicknamed Blossom. He heard that it was necessary to play football. He suffered.

At age 14, he was raped in a nightclub. At 17, forced by friends, he lost his virginity to a model and “Playboy bunny”. At 20, he was kidnapped by a male escort. At 28, he again raped. It is difficult to face the traumas, but it becomes “necessary” to open them wide in the country that kills the most LGBTQIAP+ people, he clarifies:

— I ended up talking about these moments (in the film) precisely to “de-stigmatize” LGBTQs. We are often victims of people, especially straight men. And part of their abuse is saying, “Oh, you’re just complaining, you’re playing the victim. Enough of the ‘mimi’. You want to show up.” This is a strategy these men have to transfer responsibility for the abuse they cause us,” he says. “We have to be able to talk about the things we’ve been through. One person talks, and then another talks too… So, we get stronger, with affection, forgiveness, overcoming. And not with the delegitimization of the pain of the other.

In family

Grostein and her husband have found throughout their research for the film that nearly every conservative family has an LGBTQIAP+ person. Both believe that the film can work as a mechanism for qualifying the dialogue between parents and children.

“I have sections of the family that are very conservative, and it took some time to digest and assimilate the fact that I am LGBTQ,” says Grostein.

The subject was addressed by Luciano Huck, in “De door to door”, a recently released autobiography. In the book, he says he had the feeling of losing his ground when he heard his brother reveal, at age 21, that he was gay.

— I remember he said to me like this: “Something that took you 21 years to solve inside you, I won’t be able to solve it in five minutes.” I think families have generational dynamics, and exchange is important. There comes a time when the younger ones teach the older ones — he says, who was (and still is) against Huck’s foray into politics, a topic, by the way, that they barely talk about, as he says. — We prefer to deal with family matters. Along with my stepfather, my brother was one of the people who raised me. Luciano, for me, is practically a father. Precisely for that reason, I want him away from politics and close to his family.

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