›› My Last Round - Mi Último Round
a film by Julio Jorquera.
2011 | 88 mins | Chile.
principal players: Roberto Farías / Octavio, Héctor Morales / Hugo, Manuela Martelli / Jenny, Alejandro Trejo / Don Carlos and with Tamara Acosta, Luis Dubó, Christian Farías, Ariel Mateluna, Gonzalo Robles, Diego Vergara and Ramón Llao as Miguel.
Adapted Synopsis: "Octavio is the boxing champion and all round hero of his community, living a life in which blows to the body are but a part of the macho culture at his local gym. But when an epileptic seizure results in the diagnosis that he should never fight again, his time now spent as a barber arrives much to the relief of his bisexual lover, Hugo. Only with Octavio still lusting after the adulation found in the squared circle, just how long will it be before he is tempted to put his gloves on again, for one last round?"
Filmed with a grainy look and feel that adds to the gritty realism of the piece, here we find writer and director Julio Jorquera in his striking debut feature vividly detail not just the bloody reality of competitive boxing, but the deep affection that two men hold for each other, whilst equally being all too aware that their love must remain hidden from the outside world.
Yet it's a relationship that is set to be tested by the arrival of Manuela Martelli as the girl that for Hugo, has the look of love in her eyes, only to be blind to the true direction of his heart. No surprise then that this full circle work has been likened to the Brokeback Mountain of the boxing world; that of a soulful film, one where actions and expressions more often than not speak louder than the almost laconic exchanges between the two leads. In this respect, Héctor Morales as Hugo has the air of melancholy seemingly forever etched upon his face, that of a man wrapped in the double-sided blanket of life's joyous highs and heart-rending lows, leaving Roberto Farías as Octavio to achingly convey the wounded pride of a somewhat out of shape, past his prime sportsman, who and like Randy "The Ram" Robinson in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, still yearns for the spotlight.
Actions speak louder than words in My Last Round.
Ingrained with the feelings of love, regret and loss, this emotional feature cuts to the core, being touching, honest, if ultimately tragic, with the bond between the two men beautifully understated. Indeed and like Paul Oremland's gay boxing classic that is Like It Is, this is a work that proudly showcases the desire of two men to live together as one, in an environment that and here cue the prejudiced Celebrity Big Brother remarks made by former world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, is clearly still far from accepting. That Hugo is set to brutally discover that the homophobic mindset of others cannot always be so easily avoided, goes without saying given the genre. In short, this film packs quite a punch and in more ways, than one.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - from the waist up.
Overall - file under ... 4 stars.