Jonathas has been adopted, but it doesn’t take long until he is returned because he is “different” from the other kids. Inspired by true events.
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THE ORPHAN is a story about a boy who has been adopted but is then returned due to his “different” ways. Speaking more clearly, his effeminate manners. It’s inspired by true events. I have a friend who worked as a social assistant and she once told me about a boy who was adopted and then returned more than once. I thought the subject was really moving, so I spoke to him. By that time he was a 20-year-old openly gay man. I asked him if he thought this aspect of his identity had any influence in his unsuccessful adoption cases, and he said that although he was never told anything, he thought that it did. Later on, after more research on the subject I found out that unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated case, and so, inspired by these brutal situations, I wrote the story.
When Kauan Alvarenga was introduced to me by the casting director, I thought he was a real match with the character that I intended to create. He was perfectly able to show the deepest emotions but at the same time, he was somehow aggressive, insubordinate and had some kind of acid humor. He felt like the perfect Jonathas. In addition to him, the very experienced and amazing actress Clarisse Abujamra made me really honored when she accepted the invitation to play the orphanage’s director.
Regarding the visuals, I wanted the film to be as naturalistic as possible. I thought the characters and the plot had to feel very truthful, so I chose to follow the actors with the camera, never establishing a place where they were required to stay dictated by the cinematography or production design. Actually, it was always the opposite: the characters drove the other choices, as I wanted them to feel free. I also chose the aspect ratio 4:3, trying to increase the feeling of oppression, of less space, praising the “unshown” and the unknown. The main issue with Jonathas’ way of being in left unsaid, but the feeling is always in the air.
When I discovered the existence of real cases like the one that I retell in THE ORPHAN, I was really touched in so many levels. I hope the film can bring some of these many and mixed emotions to everyone who watches it too”