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A familiar tale unfolds with uncommon lyricism in Argentine filmmaker Papu Curotto’s debut feature about two men’s years-long relationship. Many other films have explored the theme of a central character learning to accept his sexuality after years of self-repression, but Esteros stands out for its uncommon restraint and sensitivity.
The story revolves around childhood friends Matias (Joaquin Parada) and Jeronimo (Blas Finardi Niz), who spend their summers enjoying typical boyhood pursuits on the farm owned by Jeronimo’s family. Their relationship begins to take on a new, physical dimension during their adolescence, but is cut short when Matias‘ father accepts a new job in Brazil and moves the family away.
Cut to 10 years later when the adult Matias (Ignacio Rogers), now an uptight scientist, returns to the area for a visit with his girlfriend Rochi (Renata Calmon). He reunites with his old friend (Esteban Masturini), whose openly gay, bohemian lifestyle stands in marked contrast to that of Matias. It soon becomes clear that the two men are still attracted to each other, and when they decide to spend a few days in the house where they had spent idyllic summers, sparks inevitably fly.
In story and characterizations, Esteros (Spanish for “tidelands”) doesn’t really give us anything we haven’t seen before. But despite its recycled tropes, the film works beautifully thanks to Curotto’s assured direction and Andi Nachon’s economical, non-melodramatic script. The performers playing the younger and older versions of the main characters are excellent, with the latter heating up the screen in their inevitable torrid love scene. And Eric Elizondo’s cinematography beautifully captures the glories of the Argentinian countryside, making the film a visual stunner.
Distributor: Breaking Glass Pictures
Production companies: Hain Cine, Latina Estudio
Cast: Ignacio Rogers, Esteban Masturini, Joaquin Parada, Blas Finardi Niz, Renata Calmon, Maria Merlino, Marcelo Subiotto, Pablo Cura, Marian Martinez, Felipe Titto
Director: Papu Curotto
Screenwriter: Andi Nachon
Producers: Papu Curotto, Pablo Destito, Maite Echave, Pablo Giles, Andi Nachon, Cassio Pardini, Claudeio Cao Quintas
Executive producer: Santiago Podesta
Director of photography: Eric Elizondo
Editor: Luz Lopez Mane
Composer: Matthieu Chabaud
Not rated, 83 minutes
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