Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ausente (Spanish) [Absent]

I have never ever seen such a long scene of sexual tension built up as it was shown in this movie. And at the same time, I have never been in a theatre with such pin drop silence because there are no scenes that evoke laughter. You are just waiting and watching as to whats going to happen next. I dunno if it is right to call this film as a thriller but there is a different thrill that you feel while watching the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

16 year old Martin finds his swimming instructor Sebastian very attractive. One day he fakes of an eye injury in the class, and Sebastian take him to the hospital. Martin has already planned in his mind a web of lies for why he cannot go back home and finally succeeds in getting an invitation from Sebastian to sleep at his house. But thing are not simple as they seem. The night seems pretty long where neither of them is able to sleep really well. Sebastian next day finds out that Martin's parents were looking for him all night. He also finds a note in his car from Martin apologizing for telling him the lies. When Sebastian confronts him, he very openly tells him that he was hoping something will happen between them that night. This infuriates Sebastian and he hits him. Things are not same. Now Sebastian is having weird feelings and he cannot even concentrate on his girlfriend. He keeps thinking of Martin. Martin meanwhile stops coming to swimming class and is spending more time with his friends. In an unfortunate accident Martin dies and this is when Sebastian has to deal with his emotions. He recalls how maybe on some occasions he might have possibly given the boy some hints and starts questioning his own feelings for the boy. Guilt struck, he is now hoping that somehow Martin will forgive him for what he did.

You have to really watch the film to closely absorb the beauty. The entire night sequence where Martin stays at Sebastian's house and events unfold is simply superb. There is so much sexual tension on the screen that as a viewer it was a completely new experience for me trying to anticipate what can happen next. Another beauty of the film is that there is no heightened drama or dialogues or anything. None of the scenes have been filmed with melodrama, however drastic they are. The subtlety of these scene make a much more stronger impact. The end is so beautiful when Sebastian follows the image of Martin in his head in the swimming club just hoping to be forgiven. Excellent acting and a fantastic direction. It is an incredible sexy drama of repressed passion, guilt and regret. The slow build of the characters is fabulous with the relationships unfolding, refolding and unfolding back again.

Strongly recommended. Whenever there is something new, I just have to lap it up. (8/10)

6 comments:

Pitbullshark said...

Blogger detestably limits the length of comments, so I am going to have to divide this up.

I just got back from enjoying the screening of "Harvest" at Outfest, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian film festival, and was looking for reviews of it and Google led me to yours. I saw that you also reviewed "Absent". It's interesting that the only films you reviewed that I have seen were "Harvest" and "Absent" that I saw this week at Outfest. But we had different opinions, although I am not discounting your reviews, which I thought were superb and your view of these films is certainly as valid as mine. In fact, I like what you got out of "Absent" better than what I got out of it, although I still retain my desire to never ever see it again.

You were rather neutral about "Harvest" that I liked a lot (on Outfest's audience voting scale of 1-5, I gave it a 5 --"loved it"--although it hadn't been my favorite of the ones I saw in festival; my favorite had been one called "Private Romeo", which you may want to keep your eye out for...check it out on the Internet, they have a website) whereas you really loved "Absent" and I scored it a "1" ("hated it").

I did think "Absent" had very good "monster music" or "horror music", to me that was its only successful quality, and what I thought of the 16-year-old student was that HE was a monster and, frankly, when he died, I was actually quite happy. He needed to have someone put a stake through his heart. Of course, my point of view partly comes from the fact that I work at a school and understand how dedicated, kind, and generous with their time so many of the teachers and coaches are, so the thought of a student treacherously manipulating that caring for his own ends is unbearable. (As you may be aware, in the United States, to simply accuse a teacher of such improprieties is to ruin their life forever regardless of their genuine innocence, so you can imagine how "well" the THREAT of doing that will go over.)

On the other hand, I wasn't so sympathetic with the coach, either, who seemed to exhibit NO passion or much emotion over anything. I am trying to remember, did he actually ever even make a facial expression? He ought to lobby for a new Oscar category (whatever they might award in Argentina), "Best Poker Face", which I imagine he would say would strongly indicate an inner turmoil so convoluted that the choice of an external facial expression was impossible, thus the dull mask.

Pitbullshark said...

Comment continued:

I thought to myself that ALL these people (the students, the coach, his girlfriend) live phenomenally dull and boring lives, watching that movie was like sitting in a corner staring at a blank wall for two hours, except that at any minute something horrible was going to pop out at you...what a painful combination, "bored to death", yet "relentlessly on edge". So yeah, I hated this one, as did most of the audience members who were near me as we exited the theater.

But "Harvest" was sweet and atmospheric and somewhat "educational", even, to see how things work in other countries. I was really kind of surprised by the concept of "I was studying to be a banker, but it wasn't me, so now I am studying to be a farmer." I mean, really, they had homework and tests and everything. I would say that in the United States, the divide between "urban professional" and "agricultural" is nearly an breachable gulf, not a canyon you can cross over by simply "changing your major."

But Harvest, at least, had two very beautiful guys, which "Absent" did not (a kind of "pudgy" monster is not "beautiful"). I can understand you liking that hug at the end, but I preferred their passion in the car in Berlin. To me the sexiest moment was when on the street in Berlin, Jacob slipped his t-shirt out from under his overalls so that he could put it back on over them, covering them up in this urban environment--that momentary vulnerability and showing off his considerable beauty (those marvelous shoulders and leanly muscular back) was just tops and no wonder Marco was unable to continue resisting him.

Despite my disagreements, I will have to read your other reviews and use them as a positive and affirmative guide to other good movies. I think if I had read your review of "Absent" BEFORE I saw the film, I would have liked it better. Maybe.

Golu said...

Dear friend, I absolutely loved reading your thoughts here. In fact so any other people whom I met after the QFest in Philly had same reaction as yours saying, "I wish I was absent from this film". It is so funny because now in hindsight it feels like I am the only one who enjoyed the film. Not just enjoyed but liked it a lot. Bt I can totally understand your viewpoint as well.

I liked Harvest too but wish there was something more to it as well. I have just one more day of QFest left and am so looking forward to it. I am movied out watching all these movies after a long day of work.

Whats your email id?

Pitbullshark said...

My e-mail address is: thomasdosborneii@earthlink.net

I added your site to my Favorites.

claudio sgaravizzi said...

Beautiful little movie, I agree completely. You all watch for the director, Marco Berger, who did already the good "PLAN B" and several nice shorts:"Watch","Una ultima voluntad" and the excellent"the Cousin" in which we see again Javier de Pietro (Martin in Absent) in further tensions...

Golu said...

Really!! I will have to check out some of these short films that you have mentioned now