Brazil’s ‘Rule 34’ Drops Trailer Before Locarno Main International Competition Bow (EXCLUSIVE)

Brazilian filmmaker Julia Murat’s provocative drama “Rule 34” (“Regra 34”) has shared its trailer exclusively with Variety before its bow at the Locarno Film Festival.

If the trailer is anything to go by, the movie will make the filmmakers behind “50 Shades of Gray” blush. “Rule 34” competes in the official section of the Swiss festival which posts the following disclaimer on its site: “This film features scenes that could shock the sensitivity of some viewers.”

As explained in the Urban Dictionary, Rule 34 refers to “the 34th rule of the Internet, which states that any object, character, or media franchise imaginable has porn associated with it.”

“Rule 34” turns on 23-year-old Simone (played by Sol Miranda) who studies criminal law and advocates for women’s rights. By day she studies law and martial arts; by night she performs in front of a live sex cam in exchange for tokens. One night, while watching a BDSM film online, she is transfixed by the expression of fear and ecstasy on the girl’s face. This awakens her dark impulses for a more dangerous means of sexual gratification.

The trailer opens on Simone laughing and gasping as her friend strangles her with a belt followed by scenes of her double life: teasing her online viewers at night and attending law classes during the day.

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Produced by Murat’s Esquina Filmes, Rio de Janeiro-based Bubbles Project and France’s Still Moving, “Rule 34” received backing from the Sweden’s Göteborg Audiovisual Fund as part of its government initiative to defend democracy worldwide where it believes that culture is imperilled. The Bolsonaro government’s slashing of Brazil’s audiovisual incentives in recent years certainly made “Rule 34” a strong contender for the fund, which extended Є35,000 (approximately R$215,000) to the film.

“Rule 34,” also backed by Visions SudEst, went through Italy’s Torino Film Lab and the Berlinale Coproduction Market.

The cast is led by Miranda, Lucas Andrade, Lorena Comparato and Isabela Mariotto.

Murat, who also wrote the screenplay, served as producer alongside Tatiana Leite of Bubbles Project. Sao Paulo-based Imovision holds the Brazilian distribution rights.

“Rule 34” is Murat’s third film. She has worked in various fields in the filmmaking biz and has made docs as well as feature films. Her debut feature, “Historias que so existem quando lembradas,” world premiered in Venice, was selected by San Sebastian, Toronto, Rotterdam, New Directors New Films, and won 36 international prizes, including best film at Abu Dhabi, Sofia and Lima. Her second film, “Pendular,” took home two Fipresci prizes: at the 67th Berlinale and at the 35th Uruguay film fest.

The Locarno Film Festival runs Aug. 3 -13.