In the same general vein as Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, Gonzalo (Tomás Colvin plays the moody, avid photographer with compelling eyes and truly parting glances) and Javier (Fernando Quintana provides several moments of heartbreaking remorse but is a tad light on the inner desperation so necessary to carry the demanding role to its awful conclusion) are helplessly drawn towards one another despite both having variously mothering women in their lives.
This May-December duo seeks the solitude of a remote country house to try and rekindle their nearly extinguished flame. Once there—at one with the chilling wind that sounds more than it appears in the frequent upshots into the long-limbed trees that surround the retreat—matters only get worse. An early apology for sins unnamed by older is met with a decidedly selfish sexual release by younger that deftly sets the stage for future clashes of will and shallow couplings: wet or dry.
First-time director Erick Salas Kirchhausen shows much promise in revealing plot and establishing mood (a marvellous moment lets viewers jump to their own conclusions about the fate of a camera, large rock and exposed head in a sizzling flash) with the bare minimum of dialogue. Once he masters the devil in the details (pristine sheets on the lovers’ bed belies the physical savagery unleashed on the beach), future projects will ring with even greater truth.
Encouraging the cinematographer to let his lens mimic the freeze-frame results of a single-lens reflex that, delightfully, still uses Agfa 400 film, binds the images to the action (a anguished stalker’s photo will turn everyone’s world upside down) with artistic verisimilitude.
Composer Fernanda Nieto Agar’s original score is also at one with the Kirchhausen’s intent: the solo piano ideally paints the portrait of the two solitudes while ever-darkening strings leave no mistake as to just where this couple is headed; holding off the harp until the closing segment is a miracle of characterization and contrast, dutifully rewarded by a more prominent place in the closing credits (Javier’s, frantic, classical music ringtone is also a deft touch).
For many, the film will have too many unbelievable segments to garner much interest or attention, but for those who have ever felt the incredibly debilitating feeling of being trapped in a truly pathetic relationship, this production will resonate long after the final mad dash through the countryside. JWR