Director of THE WAY HE LOOKS, Daniel Ribeiro, wrote this short little piece for us on his aims and inspirations in making his debut feature:
THE WAY HE LOOKS is a film focusing on the awakening of the sexuality of a blind teenager. Adolescence is a period in one’s life filled with so many discoveries and sexuality is usually associated with the sense of sight. So how does someone who doesn’t see, finds him or herself attracted to another person? More than that, how does a person that has never seen a man or woman defines their sexual orientation? That’s what we find out when we’re introduced to Leonardo’s life. Besides being blind, there’s one other peculiarity about our main character: he’s gay. Both blindness and homosexuality are still taboos and objects of prejudice in society.
In films, when homosexuality is not a problem in terms of stereotypical character building, many times it is put as an obstacle in the plot, which means that it is necessary to overcome prejudice or prove to society, friends and family that being gay is “normal”. THE WAY HE LOOKS portrays homosexuality, but not as a central theme. The movie is about a teenager boy discovering his sexuality but it does not focus on his sexual orientation. No doubt Leonardo being gay is a major aspect, but less important than experiencing his first love, his first desires and all new experiences brought by adolescence. I wanted to create a universal story that, gay or straight, blind or not, everyone would be able to relate to what Leonardo goes through.