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last update 9.Apr.13
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Sexual Tension: Volatile Sexual Tension: Volatile   •   Tensión Sexual, Volumen 1: Volátil
The six short films in this collection all deal with latent male homosexuality, focussing as the title suggests on the tensions that build up between men whether they admit it or not. In some cases here there is a definite sense of romantic desire, while others are more offhanded and almost subliminal. Berger's three shorts are much more visually intriguing, focussing on physical juxtapositions that push men into doing things they might not otherwise dare to try. Monaco's are a little more comical in tone, dealing in lust-fuelled fantasies. All of them accept the world as a place where men aren't allowed to love each other, which of course adds to the tension in each film.
prd Didier Costet, Derek Curl • release UK 11.Feb.13 • 12/Argentina TLA 1h41 • 18 themes, language, nudity • 4.Feb.13
Ari   3.5/5  
dir-scr Marcelo Monaco
with Lucas Lagre, Mario Veron
In a tattoo parlour, a young guy (Lagre) waits nervously for tattoo artist Ari (Veron). It's his first tattoo, and as Ari explains how it works and shows his own tattoos, he flashes a bit too much flesh. And as he starts working, the pain combines with the tension between them. Later, as Ari explains how to care for the new tattoo, the film shifts into a fantasy sequence as the customer imagines much more to the relationship. Gentle and low-key, the film has a constantly building sense of possibility, with small glances, tiny touches and the intimacy of the tattooist's work. When it takes a darker turn into the younger guy's fantasy, the film becomes startlingly seductive, with a blackly comical sense of romantic futility.
The Cousin   4/5   El Primo
dir-scr Marco Berger
with Javier De Pietro, Lautaro Machaca, Maximiliano Franco
The Cousin
When a guy (De Pietro) goes to stay with his friend (Franco) for a few days, just hanging out and swimming, he discovers that his friend's cousin (Machaca) from Cordoba is staying in the house. Which wouldn't be a problem if he weren't sleeping in the corner in his underpants. Or less. Clearly hiding his sexual interest, he surreptitiously glances at the cousin's bulging shorts after swimming, then when his friend goes out late, he has a tempting encounter with the sleepy cousin who seems to share the desire. But neither guy can ever express this. Warm and beautifully shot, with fiercely clever camera work, the film gets inside the main character's head from the start. We feel his desire and guilt, his need to hide and the irresistible lust. It's also subtly, tellingly acted. And even with virtually no dialog, the tension is almost unbearable.
The Other One   3/5   El Otro
dir-scr Marcelo Monaco
with Leo Martinez, Guido Gastaldi
The Other One
While moving some furniture, Tony (Martinez) brags to his best pal Kevin (Gastaldi) that he's having sex with a number of local girls. And when Kevin confesses that he hasn't yet slept with his girlfriend because she's frightened of the pain, Tony starts teasing him mercilessly. Then things shift as Tony offers to help Kevin with his bedroom technique, using the mattress they're carrying to act out a variety of positions as their clothes begin to come off. Cute and silly, the film feels a little contrived, as Tony laughs too hard and shows far too much bravado. Although maybe that's the whole point: that he's overcompensating for his hidden desire. Indeed, as they begin to get turned on by each other and almost kiss, the film plays on the latent tensions between two guys who are definitely straight.
Broken Arms   3.5/5   Los Brazos Rotos
dir-scr Marco Berger
with Jair Toledo, Hernan Munoa, Antonia De Michelis
Broken Arms
An injured man (Toledo) is confined to his flat, where he's cared for by his mum (De Michelis). But she doesn't feel comfortable giving him a bath, so she hires a young nurse (Munoa) to help. The patient keeps an eye on him from the moment he arrives then changes into his nursing uniform before bathing and dressing him. The film is evocative and enigmatic, letting us discover the connections between these people through the tiniest details that are captured by the cameras. Berger is an expert at making the audience a voyeur, and puts us cleverly in the perspective of the patient, spying through cracks in doors and railings, with camera angles that are often obstructed and an intriguing sound mix that combines telling noises with eerie music. It's rather slight, but also strangely involving.
Honey   3/5   Amor
dir-scr Marcelo Monaco
with Santiago Caamano, Francisco Ortiz, Eva Benito
A happy couple (Ortiz and Benito) are on holiday staying in a country cabin, enjoying a chance to relax in the sunshine. When they need something, the husband goes out to find the manager Raul (Caamano) who is renovating another cabin. The two strike up a conversation. Later, the wife sends Raul into their cabin to deliver a message to her husband and they have quiet, awkward moment. And when she asks Raul to fix their shower, it leads to a moment when both men are naked under the water, a bit too close together. The whole film is a gay fantasy, as the husband's repressed desires gurgle to the surface when he has the opportunity to flirt with this workman. And the film ends abruptly as the wife begins to work things out. Which is quite funny, but leaves everything hanging.
Workout   4.5/5   Entrenamiento
dir-scr Marco Berger
with Jorge Carossia, Fede Guascs
Two muscle guys (Carossia and Guascs) are working out together in an obvious state of arousal. As they exercise, they casually touch each other, moving as if in a courtship dance. It's all very physical, and not specifically gay, as they measure each others' muscles, massage their legs and even play with a tiny, feisty kitten. Then they start talking about the local girls, who are apparently very promiscuous. So they decide to text some sexy photos to seduce them. And when the shirtless pics work, one of them suggests sending a naked one. Although he seems rather more interested than he should. Again, Berger manages to capture the tiniest hints of attraction between these straight men, and we can see it in both of them. So when the camera switches to a shot through the window, we understand that our voyeuristic opportunity is about to end. Right at the moment when things begin to get really interesting. Because like all of these shorts: it's about the build-up of lust, not the pay-off.
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