Failure is joy. We’re nearing two years since the outbreak of the pandemic and its consequences have now started to fully manifest. Many of our projects, plans and aspirations have been thrown into a disarray, receding further and further into an unknown future until they fade away like a mirage.

Noel Alejandro – Berlin, November 5, 2021. We’re left feeling empty, deprived of much of what makes us feel alive and human. Yet, the existential dread caused by these extraordinary circumstances is here to stay, a point of adjustment we’ll have to accept. Besides, nothing is more human than failing, than feeling down and seeking comfort and consolation in times of great uncertainty. It is in this context that I am pleased to present my new film: BELLO, starring the talented Francisco Gabriel, Vinicius Coelho and Carla Berrocal. 

BELLO is a short film, in which a series of unfortunate events make the protagonist Raul (Francisco Gabriel) feel like a failure. Visibly affected after a dramatic break-up, he’s forced to push through a photoshoot with photographer Mauri (Vinicius Coelho). Emotions come to a boiling point and things quickly get complicated. Through the unrelenting forces of fate Raul sees his luck reversed and once again tastes the nectar of life on his tongue. 

Most of BELLO is shot in sequence shots, aside from the sex scene, which is the first time I explore this narrative technique. This means the film contains longer shots, which create a sense of voyeurism in the audience, as if they’re there themselves, the scene unraveling in front of their very eyes. 

“Nothing is more human than failing”

BELLO’s point of departure was my desire to explore these dark places we go to when dejected. It follows Raul’s erratic quest for joy on his path to salvation from the gloom that torments him. 

We’ve all been there: despair has taken over, you’re incapable of functioning normally, it all feels pointless and tiresome. It could be a break-up, not living up to others’ expectations or maybe even your own. The reason doesn’t matter when the world around you seems like it’s falling apart. But what if we were to see possibilities in failure? What if we were to stop being so harsh on ourselves? BELLO is an invitation to contemplate failure as an inexorable part of livelihood, encouraging us to soothe the bitterness of our existence and see missteps as key to reaching the joys of life. As people say, it’s always darkest before dawn. 

BELLO a film by Noel Alejandro from Noel Alejandro on Vimeo.

True to any of my other films, sex is portrayed as a powerful tool for connection – with others, but also with oneself. Sex is a powerful. And emotional. It is powerful precisely because it is so emotional. More than simply an act of pleasure, it is a natural act that can ground us and remind us of the transience of feelings that might have overstayed their welcome in our mind and body; an ordering act which holds the possibility to restore our inner harmony and let us remain sane when everything else seems to be upside down.

True to any of my other films, sex is portrayed as a powerful tool for connection with oneself

Above all, BELLO is a beautiful, layered portrait of human emotions, of their intrinsic convergence and inseparability: seeing failure asexist within the same universe and are deeply interconnected in ways we only truly feel at the lowest of moments. Raul is a perfectly imperfect human being, one who aches, feels lost and hollow. And this is what makes him such a captivating character, one that anybody can relate to. His vulnerability leads him in the direction of pleasure, where his walls come down and he blossoms anew, turning a new page together with Mauri. 

I really enjoyed making this film and hope you enjoy watching in return.

Thanks and enjoy,
Noel Alejandro