a visually exquisite ode to love, desire and destiny.
Fans of the work of Broken Sky director Julián Hernández will no doubt take delight in this, his latest and certainly his most ambitious film to date. Others however may well cite it as pretentious, having been left wondering just what this epic meditation, is all about.
Officially, itís the story of lovers Kieri and Ryo, two young men who come to hold an unquestioning devotion to each other. Only their love is still to be, foretold by
Corazón del cielo aka Heavenís Heart; a female spirit who Ryo meets in the middle of a storm and ends up sharing the night with. Only come the morning, she is gone, leaving Ryo with a desperate desire to find the one. Meanwhile, we encounter his lover to be Kieri; a bored call-centre operator who spices up his life with hot action at his local porno cinema, only to be left feeling unfulfilled thereafter. And then thereís Tari; a boxer into rough sex who comes to be infatuated by their every move, a profound stalk-like adoration that ultimately leads to ... well that would be saying.
Or would it? For in Hernándezí cinematic hands things as never that clear cut, given this overlong feast for the artistic eye is yet another example of a director delighting in his art, along the way transposing the narrative from city life to the barren desert sands of the underworld. That the result is a visually exquisite ode to love, desire and destiny, is as assured as Hernándezí now trademark erotic depictions of sexuality, let alone full frontal male nudity. And of that, thereís a lot.
Yet by comparison, what is in short supply is dialogue. Indeed, at over three hours duration and with words as few as to make Heath Ledgerís character in
Brokeback Mountain seem like a motormouth, this feature will undoubtedly make for hard going for some, even if the near dream-like quality of the striking monochrome and at times tinted photography shines throughout. Then again, to say that this is not your conventional cinema, gay or otherwise, is to state the obvious. As too is the fact that this is a work of love, from a director who in true Derek Jarman fashion, uses the screen like a canvas to paint his achingly slow affirmation of same-sex love. Whether the result is to your liking, I dare say depends on to what degree you like your mythological storytelling, delivered laconic style. But like his previous works,
Bramadero included (and cue the blatant in-house advertising), itís so beautifully told, even if the Mexican print is interestingly fifty minutes less. Their loss, our gain OR vice versa - the jury appears divided. Enough said.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - letting it all hang out.
Overall - file under ... 4 stars.