a film by Marcelo Piñeyro
2000 | 125 mins | Argentina - Spain - Uruguay
›› Burnt Money - Plata Quemada - aka: Burning Money
a beautifully executed study of a star-crossed relationship.
Burnt Money by Marcelo Piñeyro

Known as "the twins" to everyone, on account of forever being in each other's company, gay lovers Nene and Angel earn their living as hardened thieves for hire. Only when a botched armed robbery results with Angel wounded and Nene venting his bloody wrath on the police, they are forced to flee across the Argentinian border to Uruguay.

Holed up for days and nights alongside other members of the fugitive gang, it isn't long before Nene breaks ranks, going against the curfew imposed by the brains of the crew to venture into the open air, in spite of Fontana's stern warning that to do so risks bringing the authorities to their door. Only with Angel's increasing erratic "I hear voices" behaviour causing him to reject Nene's sexual advances, it isn't long before Nene is found in the arms of street wise Giselle. But at what cost to their relationship and very life?

Burnt Money by Marcelo Piñeyro
Dave Says:-

In a dramatic mix of gun blazing violence and acute gay intensity, director Marcelo Piñeyro shots the screen alight with a vivid account of one of the most famous footnotes, in the annals of Argentinian criminal history.

Yet as notorious as this event was in its day, that of stolen money and the hunt for the ruthless individuals responsible for both robbery and murder, this is in essence the story of two men in love. Yes, they are brutal criminals who wouldn't think twice about putting a gun to your head, but their devotion to each other is what drives this feature to heights rarely seen in gay cinema. And that by large is thanks to the riveting performances of Leonardo Sbaraglia as bisexual Nene and Eduardo Noriega as his tormented soul of a partner; Angel. True, the core sex scenes here are heterosexual, with the relationship between the two men never cinematically consummated. Yet there is no denying where their hearts lie, an intimacy that is wonderfully conveyed through body language, as looks and touches perfectly match the narrative's description of their all-consuming love.

Told chapter fashion, with a continuing voice-over eventually giving way to the dynamics of the storyline, this is a work in which the supporting players equally shine, in particular Leticia Brédice as the local girl who Nene takes a-liking to and Pablo Echarri as the getaway driver who finds himself party to their destructive end. Not that this is a spoiler, given the real life events upon which both the screenplay and the book by Ricardo Piglia, are based. For whilst this is a film relating the inhuman acts of cold-blooded killers, it is also the story of two men who are prepared to literally die in each other's arms; an emotional intensity and sexual chemistry that jumps right off the screen.

Intercut with some telling edits, as acts of religious worship juxtapose with cottaging ways and complete with a variety of musical styles and lively dance sequences in keeping with the '60s timeline, Piñeyro in having given space for the narrative to breathe, has crafted a beautifully executed study of a star-crossed relationship; one that is as sensuously erotic, as it is ultimately tragic.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - the full monty. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.
available on DVD as part of the Strand Releasing.com catalogue: 1.October.2002 / US.
principal players: Leonardo Sbaraglia / Nene, Eduardo Noriega / Angel, Pablo Echarri / Cuervo, Leticia Brédice /
Giselle, Ricardo Bartis / Fontana, Dolores Fonzi / Vivi, Carlos Roffé / Nando, Daniel Valenzuela /
Tabaré and Héctor Alterio as Losardo.
Copyright 2012 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #522
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