The Body Won’t Close

Legend has it that the capoeira player Besouro Mangangá summoned Bahia’s full magical power to seal his body from harm. Neither bullets nor knives could pierce his skin anymore. But his enemies knew that the act of love could remove this magical protection and so they sent him a beautiful woman. Even today, young men in Santo Amaro tell each other the story of Besouro Mangangá and link it to the violent reality of their precarious lives.

THE BODY WON’T CLOSE is an intimate and sensory journey into the experiential worlds of young men at the margins of Brazilian society. Driven by a queer sensibility, the film poetically explores the dilemma of the human body as a porous structure and the impossibility of closing oneself off from the world, and from love.

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Year of Release



74 minutes


Digital, Color

Previous Screenings

Saturday, October 2, 2021 / 15:00 2021 Schedule


Mattijs van de Port Thumbnail

Mattijs van de Port

Mattijs van de Port made several films, including Saborear Frutas Brasileiras (2013) and the essay films The Possibility of Spirits (2016) and Knots and Holes (2018), which were selected for many ethnographic film festivals. He was awarded the Samodiva Award for “Best Film of the International Film Festival of Ethnographic Films 2017” in Sofia, Bulgaria, and received an honorary mention at the Ethnocineca Filmfestival in Vienna, Austria in 2019. In 2021, The Body Won’t Close won the Basil Wright Film Prize at the RAI Filmfestival in Bristol, UK.