FILM REVIEW | Hawaii1st July 2014
When Martin (Mateo Chiarino) gets stranded in the small Argentinian country town he grew up he ends up sleeping rough by the river and goes looking for odd jobs to feed himself.★★★★★
His search takes him to a large estate where he manages to get some work only to discover that it’s present tenant is Eugenio (Manuel Vignau) one of his boyhood friends. Eugenio is now an affluent writer working on a new novel and he is spending the summer looking after the large house in his Uncle’s absence.
With sparse dialogue, in fact there is barely a word spoken in the first fifteen minutes in what is essentially a two-hander story, Martin withholds the truth about his rather desperate circumstances and pretends that he is living with his Aunt. The balance of power between the two men who are essentially from different social classes, is very potent as each of them tries gradually to relax the protocol between boss and worker. Particularly on Eugenio’s part when he begins to realise that the friendship he feels for his childhood pal is developing into desire.
As the two men start to hang out together more when they have both stopped working, the few carefully chosen words they use to talk hold a myriad of feelings although it is very clear that neither of them have any idea of how the other feels about what is evolving here.
This, the third full feature from writer/director Marco Berger is the most simplest of tales that he stunningly unfolds in an impeccably subtle provocative manner. With a series of incessant long stares and discreet longing glances there is obviously a powerful struggle that each of these men are dealing with as there relationship progresses over the long hot summer. Berger makes their story so completely compelling that we are invested in its outcome to the very end.
Credit too for casting two very gifted actors for their talents and not for their pretty boy looks (not that they are by any means un-attractive) and for the keeping the nudity (seemingly somewhat obligatory in gay-themed movies these days) down to a bare minimum, despite the heavy eroticism of the piece.
For me, this was filmmaker Marco Berger back on the form he showed in Plan B his excellent debut movie. His second film Absent aka Ausente may have won the prestigiousTeddy Award at Berlinale but it was a disappointing affair.
P.S. The reason for the title can only be revealed when you see the movie without spoiling the plot.