directed by Martín Deus & Juan Chappa
A gaggle of teenage boys lie back on the turf of a football pitch, announcing their lewd manifestos in turn. Our angle of observation sees the head of each adolescent haloed by a circle of boot-clad feet. One boy tries a cigarette, only to sputter on smoke as the drag slithers down his throat. He is joshed for his gaucheness, a friend nuzzling his head with a leather-capped toe. Though playful, the gesture hints at a more violent form of guerrilla camerawork, as we imagine a forceful kick to the cranium.
But here, the gangly group forms a solid shield rather than a threat. The lads claim to capture their larks for the ladies, but we never see their audience. Their moments of vulnerability occur away from the throng’s buffer of bravado. Our protagonist patiently teases trainers from the toes of his tipsy best friend, and in the mundane moment, asks what he truly feels for him. The replies that he is rewarded with are both cryptic and monosyllabic, falling short of the revelation that he perhaps hoped would follow.
Words by Elizabeth Brown
Young teens revel in their last days of high school, diving across a muddy football pitch together for the final time. The imminent separation imbues their games with a palpable tension, leaving us to wonder what will happen to the group. We observe the close relationship of one pair, Iván and Jeremías, as the camera lingers on them under the cover of night. Soft, warm lighting accompanies a tender moment that seems a world apart from the boisterous playfighting and teasing of the schoolyard.
Yet as harsh daylight streams into Iván’s cold, blue bedroom, Jeremías does not get the answers he seeks. They lie top-and-tail, their bodies as misaligned as the love of the film’s title, which seems not only raw, but also unrequited. The camera underscores the division: Iván reclines out of focus; Jeremías slowly blinks away his emotions in the foreground. We are offered a brief, bittersweet window to a formative relationship, one never openly declared, even as we move towards the eventual farewell.
Words by Katherine Fieldgate
Question of the day
Yes, Josef von Sternberg’s films can easily prove that. Lighting, however, is just one element of a complex art form, but so are words!
– Cristina Álvarez López, film critic and audiovisual artist (via The Brief →)