Hawaii (2013)

MARCO BERGER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  Argentina, 2013.  La Noria Cine, Universidad del Cine.  Screenplay by Marco Berger.  Cinematography by Tomás Pérez Silva.  Produced by Marco Berger, Pedro Irusta.  Music by Pedro Irusta.  Production Design by Marco Berger.  Film Editing by Marco Berger.  

The sensuality drips so hard it practically drools all over this gorgeous, muted romantic drama.  Martin has returned to the rural village of his childhood in need of some temporary work for the summer, doing the odd repair job for locals in return for small handouts while spending his nights sleeping outdoors.  When he comes to the house of Eugenio, a writer who is staying at his uncle’s house for the summer, the two recognize each other from childhood and Eugenio immediately finds enough to keep Martin busy for the rest of the season.  When he realizes that the young man has nowhere to stay, Eugenio insists on Martin taking a room in the house, the two of them striking up a friendly companionship of meals, walks and swims between Eugenio’s bursts of creativity and Martin’s fix-up work.  It doesn’t take long to realize that the two of them are casting each other long glances, and patting each other a bit too hard on the shoulder, but when one person is afraid and the other in denial, it’s a long road of increasingly sexy tension before anyone can express their desires.  Marco Berger’s lovely examination of emotional and physical chemistry wisely avoids indulging in anything sinister for exploitative effect, finding the film’s sense of conflict in the gradually decreasing distance between his main characters and not any explosive revelations.  His intelligent direction also makes sure that the kind of moments that are hilariously ripe in other romantic stories (feel my heart, see how fast it’s beating) come off as natural and spontaneous here, performed by actors who are perfectly cast, both in their characters and opposite each other, and the lush surroundings complete the effect.

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