DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Rule 34 (Regra 34)

A fun exploration of the connection between sex and law, pleasure and pain, Rule 34 is a sexy and smart Brazilian film - live from Locarno.


Who says you can’t do it all? Simone (Sol Miranda) is a young Black bisexual Brazilian woman with two very different professions. During the day she is studying to be a public defender, protecting the most vulnerable in contemporary society; by night, she is a cam girl, performing sex acts on camera for male attention. Just by existing, she is everything Jair Bolsonaro hates.

The title shows that anything is possible, even in a country where culture is under attack by bigots like in Brazil. Rule 34 is an internet rule that if you think of something, there will be a pornographic depiction of it online (feel free to close this browser and try it yourself!). People like Simone, although often neglected, genuinely exist, and they deserve their own cinematic portrait.

The good news is that we get a cracking, sparkling, discursive and compelling character study with Julia Murat’s film, examining the boundaries of consent, what it means to seek pain, and the intersection of systemic oppression and personal choice. Simone herself is on a mission to decolonise her own depiction as a black woman online, arguing that much Black BDSM depiction has connotations of slavery. This is linked to the wider difficulties that Black people face in Brazil, as well as women and minorities.

Instead of a simple polemic however, Murat treats us to a film that pushes back against boundaries, while never settling for easy answers. Discussions between the law students are emboldened and intellectual, with few stupid questions and answers, breaking down simple binaries of black/white, male/female, endlessly looking for the grey areas that the law — by its structural nature — cannot find its way around.

But if the law cannot provide closure or liberation, perhaps sex can. Simone is in a ménage à trois with two of her fellow students, male and female alike, freely showing what can happen when people are informed of what they want to do with their own bodies. Murat makes some bold choices here, displaying full-frontal nudity, asphyxiation, spanking and choking; the likes of which could easily be exploitive in the hands of another director. All the time, however, Simone is looking to push the boundaries, resulting in a spiky feminist film that is both exciting to watch and thought-provoking at the same time.

At the centre is Miranda herself, who has no difficulty holding the attention of the camera as the film intuitively edits between different moments of her life, showing the full, complex spectrum of her character. At one point, she just sits alone and eats what appears to be an onion. It should be a kind of throwaway scene, but in the hands of an actor this assured, it had me strangely compelled. The kind of performance that can change the entire tenor of a film, it’s no wonder Murat chooses to end the film on a close-up. With a face that cinematic, it would be rude not to.

Rule 34 Locarno Film Festival plays as part of the Concorso internazionale at the , running from 3-13th August.

By Redmond Bacon - 10-08-2022

Redmond’s tastes are pretty diverse – from the neglected cop classic Tango and Cash (Andrei Konchalovsky,1989) the lesbian drama Show Me Love (Lukas Moodysson, 1998) to Scorsese’s best film:...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

Fairytale (Skazka)

Alexander Sokurov

Redmond Bacon - 06-08-2022

Dictators collide in this legendary Russian director's late period animation, equal parts beguiling and compelling — live from Locarno Film Festival [Read More...]

Medusa Deluxe

Thomas Hardiman

John Bleasdale - 08-08-2022

Blackly comic thriller about a high-level hairdressing competition is a cut above the rest - British debut of rare promise is in cinemas on Friday, June 9th [Read More...]

Arnold Is a Model Student (Arnon pen nakrian tuayang)

Sorayos Prapapan

Redmond Bacon - 08-08-2022

This delightful and odd school-set Thailand satire asks if the revolution is even worth it — live from Locarno Film Festival 2022. [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *