When an AE reader sent us a tip about Em Familia, I leapt to attention. A stunning Brazilian lesbian photographer seducing an unsatisfied wife? Yes. Yes, please.
Telenovelas are more known for high drama and heaving bosoms than queer visibility, but Brazilian audiences are clamoring for more girl y girl in Em Familia (In Family). While Em Familia isn’t the first telenovela to feature a lesbian couple, it is inciting a positive reaction among Brazilians- gay and non gay alike.
“They are exploring this subject in a cute and extremely beautiful atmosphere,” Brazilian reader Carla rhapsodized, “and believe me, I don’t watch telenovelas. But it is impossible not to watch and love every scene they have together!”
Clara (played by Giovanna Antonelli) is an unsatisfied housewife married to the unemployed Cadu (Reynaldo Gianecchini). Together they have one son, Ivan, played by Vitor Figueiredo. When Clara meets Marina, a stunning and gifted female photographer (Taina Muller), her life changes forever. Marina’s work is mostly composed of artistic nude pictures of women, which is exactly what my work would focus on if I was a photographer. Living in LA, if you want a girl to take off her clothes, all you have to say is “photoshoot” and le panties drop. Vanity is a many splendored thing. All you need is vanity.
Marina’s go-to line is “nude photographs reveal a woman’s soul,” which is GENIUS, and eventually Marina convinces Clara to pose for her while Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die” plays in the background. Pure sex. Watching Marina photograph Clara spinning around giddily in silken gowns seriously made my morning. I am thoroughly delighted by these two. FANTASTIC.
After bonding with Marina, Clara is appalled and aroused to discover Marina is a homosexualist. Cadu warns Clara of Marina’s predatory sapphic proclivities, but Clara is not so much worried as intrigued. Clara confides in her sister, Helena, about Marina. Awesomely, Helena doesn’t react with homophobia or shock, but instead discusses the situation in an open and enlightened fashion. For the first time, Clara can be honest about her feelings for Marina. At the end of the scene, Clara ignores a phone call from Marina, and Helena says, “Answer and tell her you are a happily married straight mother… or are you afraid of telling Marina that you’re not interested?” Clara simply responds, “I am afraid of telling her that I am interested.”
How does Marina feel about Clara? Is Clara just a straight conquest, or is Marina developing real feelings for a married woman? In another scene, Marina admits to a friend that she’s falling for Clara. Now that both Clara and Marina have acknowledged their feelings to themselves and others, shiz is about to go down. Marina has invited Clara on a work trip to Angra dos Reis to photograph a house. A romantic retreat is just what these two need to get naughty. I’ve seen a couple clips of the two flirting and while I have no idea what they’re saying, I really want them to say it to me.
One last note: Clara’s story isn’t entirely fiction. Manoel Carlos, the writer of Em Familia, said that Clara is inspired by Daniela Mercury, a famous Brazilian musician. Last year Daniela Mercury, a divorced mother, came out as queer with her girlfriend. Daniela is now married to that girlfriend, and they’ve even published a book about their romance.
I can’t wait to see how Clara and Marina’s story plays out on Em Familia. Special thanks to AE reader Carla, who brought this amazing story to our attention. Have any other AE readers been watching? What do you think of Carla and Marina’s romance? Have any of you read Mercury’s book?