Movie Reviews By Bil Antoniou
Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. Mexico, 2009. Mil Nubes-Cine, Fondo para la Producción Cinematográfica de Calidad, Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía, Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos. Screenplay by Julian Hernandez. Cinematography by Alejandro Cantú. Produced by Roberto Fiesco. Music by Arturo Villela. Production Design by Carolina Jimenez, Jesús Torres Torres. Costume Design by Laura García de la Mora. Film Editing by Emiliano Arenales Osorio.
Julian Hernandez makes another aesthetically-oriented exploration of gay eroticism that, much like his A Thousand Clouds of Peace, requires a great deal of patience. The mammoth running time (almost three and a half hours if you’re watching the original cut) concerns itself with trysts between men in various seedy locales, eventually training its focus on three of them, the sweet and innocent Ryo, the handsome Kieri who loves him and the jealous Tari who wants to take him away from his soulmate. After scenes that play out on rainy streets or dingy public bathrooms, the final third of the film switches to an ancient indigenous Mexican setting that sees their battle play out as a quest of good against evil. Stylishly photographed in bold monochromes, the film is a feast for the eyes thanks to the plenitude of beautiful naked men, but none of them read as more than cardboard images and it quickly feels like watching a naughty three and a half hour Calvin Klein commercial with few rewards for the amount of time you sacrifice to it. The opening sequence, in which an emotionally unstable woman treks through Mexico City until she meets Ryo and has a spontaneous affair with him, is the film’s best-constructed sequence, while everything after that is always teasing a narrative but never actually finds one.