A little while ago I reported that Brazilian telenovela Em Familia has a blossoming romance between Clara (Giovanna Antonelli), a bored housewife, and Marina (Taina Müller), a sexy lesbian photographer. Since then, the flirtation between Marina and Clara has evolved into a full blown love affair.
AfterEllen readers from around the world wrote in asking us to continue “Clarina” coverage and I, for one, am thrilled to oblige. Although modern in many ways, Brazil is still a country rooted in Catholic tradition. Em Familia’s lesbian storyline is a groundbreaking step forward in gay normalization and acceptance. Over the last month Marina and Clara’s relationship has deepened, but fans are still concerned whether a kiss between a lesbian and a married woman will be aired in Brazil.
During the April 13 episode of Em Familia, Clara and Marina’s sexual tension reached new, dizzying heights. Clara and Marina exchanged longing glances and veiled caresses while dancing to “The Way You Look Tonight” in a gorgeous, bittersweet scene that left fans speechless. Several AE readers wrote that wrote that Marina and Clara’s dance was the best Em Familia scene yet, and one of the most moving televised gay moments they’d ever seen.
Clara and Marina’s love dance takes place in Marina’s stylish photography studio/loft, after Clara admires a photograph of Marina. Clara, the clever yet under-stimulated mother, wears fitted jeans, a skin skimming white shirt, and wry smile. Marina, lesbian sex pot extraordinaire, is high femme in a silk slip and bright red lips. Both spend a lot of time tossing their gorgeous brunettes manes about breathily. After a few spins and twirls, Marina settles to dance behind Clara, pressing tight and allowing those red lips to almost, just almost, brush Clara’s neck. As the two dance in front of Marina’s projector, snippets of Marina’s pictures — including her signature red lips — are projected on the slowly swaying couple. They smile, giggle, press, hug, pet, gaze, but never kiss. There’s even an intentional boob graze.
Until the dance scene episode, Marina had been very much pursuing the married Clara, who is obviously attracted to Marina but confused by her attraction to another woman. Dancing with Marina, Clara shows initiative and acts more like an aggressor, or at the very least an equal participant, than ever before. Marina giggles and blushes with pleasant surprise and Clara nuzzles her and takes turn leading.
During the next episode of Em Familia (aired April 17) Marina and Clara shared an “almost kiss” and Marina’s ex Vanessa (Maria Eduarda Carvalho) vied for Marina’s affections. Marina does this adorable thing where she plays with a lock of Clara’s mahogany hair while talking. Clara visits Marina to say that, while she’s tempted by Marina, Clara must put her young son first. It’s obviously hard to take Clara totally seriously while she’s smiling flirtatiously at Marina and Marina is playing with Clara’s hair. By the time Clara leaves to return home, Marina seems disappointed but willing to wait. Marina has made it clear that she loves Clara and will wait as long as it takes to get Clara. Clara has been less clear about her own feelings, but seems smitten. Clara is in a tough situation. Her husband, Cadu, is sick and has threatened to file for custody of Ivan, Clara’s son.
Ginger hottie Vanessa is Marina’s ex and current best friend. Vanessa still has feelings for Marina, and is horrified to see Marina falling for a married straight girl. Vanessa has tried several times to dissuade Marina from pursuing Clara. In the latest episode, Vanessa goes a step further by making insinuating comments to Clara, who just plays dumb. Going forward, I suspect Vanessa will become the bad girl to Marina and Clara’s relationship, but honestly I can sympathize. If a friend OR ex fell in love with a married straight mother, I would sure as hell try to talk her out of it. Vanessa is obviously motivated by her own interests and lingering feelings for Marina, but she’s making fair points. If Clara doesn’t leave Cadu for Marina, Marina will be end up just like any other lesbian who falls for a married straight girl: heartbroken.
Marina and Clara’s storyline might be cut short before allowing even one passionate kiss between the two women. Recently released spoilers indicate Clara will reconcile with husband Cadu and renew her vows. Globos research groups indicated that viewers are split on seeing a lesbian relationship, and a sizable chunk want Clara to ditch Marina and return to life as a wife and mother in a traditional hetero relationship. Some Clarina fans are speculating that there’s a tie between Globos research results and Clara’s sudden, disappointing change of heart.Telenovelas are notorious for high drama, adultery, and love triangles, so Clara’s possible infidelity shouldn’t shock Brazilian audiences.
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