At last, a film that boldly examines the entire
spectrum of man-to-man love, serving everything up with style, intrigue and simmering eroticism even as it captures attention and strokes imagination from the gagging-on-cum realism of the opening blow job to the
self-loving digital pump that frames this glorious Mexican production.
This is seventeen-year-old Gerardo's story—and film.
Juan Carlos Ortuño excels in the role. By journey's end there is little about
him that has not been seen or imagined. His compelling face, surrounded with
short-cropped hair commands the screen throughout; his proclivity for sex—a
centrepoint of the story—seems
genuine and heart-felt. When called upon to bare all, whether in the ecstasy
of masturbation or diving into round II with Bruno (Juan Carlos Torres,
convincingly enraptured/confused) in their tragically short-lived coupling,
Ortuño's candour with his body is as believable as his doomed love with the
man who provides a neighbourhood designation rather than a street number as
his forwarding address.
At first, the phone does ring, they meet again. But, too
soon, Gerardo, having found the vinyl of the film's theme song/title, intends
to use it as the aural backdrop for their next sexual encounter, but ends up
alone, disappointed, forever horny.
Working at a male-only pool hall, he is not lacking for
companionship or mail delivery. His boss Umberto (Mario Oliver) delights (and
Gerardo never seems to mind) in exploring his employee's pockets privately
even as his patrons are sinking their balls in regulation.
Then, the phone goes mute and a letter is received—its
contents gradually revealed, explaining that because he loves Gerardo so much,
Bruno must pull back and desert him. “A fearless man swore he'd love me to
death,” say the lyrics, but Bruno is not cut from that cloth.
The fiercely independent but libido-heavy hero sets out
in search of his vanished lover waiting endlessly at their usual spot on the
bridge then running down the railway tracks before bumping into an old friend
in the graffiti-rich walls where his colleague opines “I thought loving would
give me something in return,” before leading his distraught buddy into his bed
for a one-night stand. Kicking him out at sunrise to avoid the scorn of his
neighbours, he asks (as do all men in Gerardo's experience—most
often after spurning their offer of cash for services rendered), “Will you
call me?” “Sure” comes the reply after deftly avoiding a farewell kiss.
Venturing into Bruno's neighbourhood, the hapless lover
gets gay-bashed (entirely predictable as the music track shifted incongruously—at
J.S. Bach's passion music) in an abandoned construction site. True, any
violence is reprehensible, but why was Gerardo so easily tempted from the
search for his life partner?
Following that humiliation Gerardo goes back home where,
like his tricks, he is offered cash from his mom, but would settle for love,
So it's back to the pool hall and an obscenely quick
under-the-bridge fuck, money refused that shows the depths to which Gerardo,
still so young, has sunk. “Will you call me?” Hardly.
We are left with another exquisitely hot scene of
self-touching even as that act rekindles the memory of the vanished lover.
Director/writer Julián Hernández has fashioned together a
film that will remain in memory for a long time for anyone who knows the
ecstasy of early love suddenly dissolved by unaccountable abandonment. But
the true star of this production is Diego Arizmendi's camera (coupled with
superb editing from Emiliano Arenales Osorio and Jacopo Hernández), which, in
perfectly appropriate back-and-white, using all manner of focus, spectacular
exteme-close-ups, and marvellous tracking-shots, provides the incredibly
harmonious visual reality of their far too believable film. JWR