›› The Sex of Angels - El sexo de los ángeles
a film by Xavier Villaverde.
2012 | 105 mins | Spain.
principal players: Astrid Bergès-Frisbey / Carla, Álvaro Cervantes / Rai, Llorenç González / Bruno, Sonia Méndez / Marta, Julieta Marocco / Maria, Lluïsa Castell / Nuria, Marc Garcia Coté / Adrian, Marc Pociello / Dani, Ricard Farré / Oscar and with Ana Cimini as Virginia Dalmau.
Adapted Synopsis: "Carla, a gifted photographer and her devoted boyfriend Bruno are an adoring young couple living in Barcelona, who chance upon Rai; a charismatic and mysterious dancer who moves from city to city, just as he does from one love affair to another. As their lives entwine, an intense triangle of attraction creates a turbulent time for the trio of lovers."
Bursting with sexual fluidity and charm, here director Xavier Villaverde breathes fresh life in the tried and tested love triangle scenario, if indeed that's the right term to use? For what happens when a man who hitherto has always viewed himself as being straight, finds himself sexually drawn to another man, whilst still deeply in love with his girl? And what happens to that girl when she comes to realize that she cannot live without her man, just as he cannot live without both of his lovers?
That such a sexual bonding forms the cinematic foundation stone of the screenplay by Ana Maroto, goes without saying. Yet this is far from your standard take on such. For just like Amnon Buchbinder's delightful feature Whole New Thing, here Villaverde preaches a "who says you have to choose?" sermon. And it's beautifully played too, with all three leads giving compelling performances at every turn, aided by a "biter bit" scenario, courtesy of the sexual tables having been turned upside down, by way of a woman determined to make her boyfriend feel the same emotions as her; be it jealousy, be it love.
The look of love in The Sex of Angels.
For that is what strikes a chord here, given this is a feature that handles its core subject and cue the word - polyamory, with refreshing honesty. Sure, Carla and as expected is furious with she discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her, at least at first, throwing Bruno out, along with his belongings. Yet she equally comes to see in Rai a man who is more than just her boyfriend's boyfriend; refusing as he does to be sexually pigeonholed, opting to be sexual, without any prefix attached.
A goodbye kiss in The Sex of Angels.
Crosscut with scenes of street dance in all of its vibrant form, alongside Carla's co-workers becoming increasingly interested in her love life; office gossip style, the result makes for a sensuous journey of sexual exploration, believably natural throughout, apart that is from a somewhat melodramatic fashioned ending. That the boys engage in some serious lip-service, including a "goodbye kiss" that is anything but, showcase a director who has deliberately gone out of his way to not so much push sexual boundaries, but literally throw them out altogether, proudly depicting love - as love. That aside, it has to be said that and in comparison to the downright steamy hetero sex scenes, the physical encounters between the two men are either interrupted or cut out way too soon for my liking, with the critical "first time" bedroom scene between the boys, all but AWOL. Nevertheless, this is totally irresistible filmmaking, as real life characters seductively draw you into their lives, just as longing glances and pent-up feelings give way to scenes of a [.]sexual nature. Provocatively engaging, to say the least.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - graphic bare-arsed cheek.
Overall - file under ... 4 stars.