A gay bathhouse in Rio De Janeiro is the stage for the gentle human drama of Copa 181. That’s the address men go to for anonymous sex, a stage show, a drink, or just to hang out with similarly disposed individuals.
“…the couple finds out about parts of each other’s lives they’d been unaware of.”
Elsewhere in Rio, we meet a married couple, Tana (Carlos Takeshi) and Eros (Simone Mazzer). He runs a small street-front shop. She’s an opera singer struggling to stay engaged in her art. They have a good relationship, but Eros does not know that Tana spends his afternoons at the bathhouse. When she is asked to fill in singing at the Copa, and Tana does not know she’s coming, her surprise appearance sets up a clash as the couple finds out about parts of each other’s lives they’d been unaware of.
Leo (Caetano O’Mailhlan), one of the male escorts employed by the sauna, maintains he is straight because he’ll only top the customers: he’s gay for pay. His affection for Kika, a transgender performer, however, belies this assertion. Kika is drawn to Leo, but suffers in their interactions as a result of Leo’s anger and conflicted feelings about who he is. Leo has even been violent with her. Kika yearns for Leo, despite his callous treatment.
"…a window into a part of queer culture that still thrives in the city."