Film of the week: “Plan B” by Marco Berger (trailer)

21/01/2011 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

A woman, Laura, dumps a guy, Bruno, in favor of another guy, Pablo, but Bruno desperately wants Laura back. When she casually mentions that Pablo had experimented with another guy, Bruno sets out to seduce him away from Laura.

With its very flexible notion of heterosexuality, this isn’t a plot you’re likely to see any time soon on Hannah Montana (or even Greek).It’s the story of a new Argentinean movie, Plan B, set among aimless twentysomethings in contemporary Argentina (the movie, now playing film festivals, is in subtitles).

And like the recent American indie hit Humpday, it’s more or less a complicated exploration of gay sex and love between presumably heterosexual men. The characters’ casual acceptance of homosexuality, and the film’s idea that love is love, is perhaps the most interesting thing about it.

That said, this definitely isn’t a movie for everyone, and it’s definitely not the light farce the title makes it out to be. With its lazy pacing and extended, unmoving shots (often, it should be noted, of the two handsome, underwear-clad men sleeping side-by-side in bed), this is much more of an arthouse film than any commercial comedy-of-errors.

As an art film, there’s plenty to be admired here, even in addition to the casual attitudes about sexuality, especially the extremely naturalistic acting by the two leads, Manuel Vignau and Lucas Ferraro. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a more realistic portrayal of two people slowly developing affection for each other. And when they do eventually begin to connect for real (um, spoiler alert?), it’s absolutely earned.

And some of writer-director Marco Berger‘s dialogue is memorable and clever, brimming with subtext, as when Bruno asks Pablo what kind of toy he would be if he were a toy. Manipulative, complicated Bruno himself says he’d be a View Master, because he requires other people to see through his eyes.

But this is definitely not a movie for everyone. Like many arthouse films, plot is not its strong suit. It proceeds at a lackadaisical pace. This is obviously intentional – realism is the name of this movie’s game. But the pacing, along with movie’s central conceit, sometimes seem muddled and confusing.

Bruno’s “plan” never really makes much sense: Pablo isn’t really bisexual — he reportedly just experimented one time.

And assuming the plan does work and Pablo falls in love with Bruno, how does that help him get Laura back? She clearly has no problem with a bisexual boyfriend, or even an unfaithful one, so won’t she and Pablo just be outraged when Bruno’s lack of true love for Pablo is eventually revealed — and mostly likely be driven back into each other’s arms? Or does Bruno plan on continuing to have a relationship with Pablo forever?

Still, much like the American movie Chasing Amy, the point of the film is clearly to show how sexuality and relationships are often just a big, complicated mess.

In that respect, the movie does a pretty effective job.

Plan B played at FRAMELINE San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival and will also screen on July 10th at the Outfest Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Source: Brent Hartinger for After Elton

Entry filed under: ARGENTINIAN CINEMA, FILM OF THE WEEK, LATIN AMERICAN FILM. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Latin American Cinema at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Film review: Square Meter (Metro cuadrado) – video

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