For his third feature film 30 year old queer Argentinian filmmaker Nicolás Teté revisits the theme of ‘coming out’. It’s obviously a subject that weighs very seriously with him which may be a reflection of his own personal journey.
This the story of Manual (Facundo Gambandé) an architecture student in Buenos Aires. We first see him saying a very passionate farewell to his boyfriend who is returning home to Denmark. As he declares his undying love, he promises that he will hit his parents up for the money for him to join him in Denmark as soon as he can.
Manual is about to go home in the suburbs to help celebrate their wedding anniversary. They great him enthusiatically like the return of the prodigal son, which is surprising as the last time he was home he came out to them, and they all but threw him out of the house. As pleased as they are that he is back home. both his mother and father refuse to engage in any conversation about his sexuality which they still refuse to accept.
Then to make Manual even more miserable, during a Skype call his boyfriend says that now he is back in Denmark he wants to break up with him.
Manual is the eldest of four siblings , but he and two of them play second fiddle to Lusito (Mateo Giuliani) who is a star athlete who is living in Spain on a scholarship. He is not just the light in his macho father’s eyes (and his mother’s too) he dominates the family so much that he could almost be the only child.
Luis (the father) sees Lusito fulfilling all his own sports ambitions that he had to pass up on, whilst he only sees Manual as the stubborn one who refuses to inherit the family’s pasta business. Its hard for Manual to reconnect with them in these circumstances and so he seeks solace in the bed of his closeted ex- school teacher.
Even when Lusito’s actions are about to bring shame to the family..the parents cannot do enough to protect their golden boy
Of course Tete always had every attention of giving this family drama a happy ending, but we cannot think it is still too apologetic .The only authentic compromising is done by Manual who seems to be able to come to terms with the fact that his parents acceptance will always be conditional . Maybe that’s an accurate reflection on how a conservative Argentinean family would still react even in 2020.
Asides from that Tete’s intriguing script gave us a great view of Manual of being able to find peace with himself …… with a very spirited performance from Gambandé.
Argentina has always been a great source for queer cinema ……. and one of our personal favorites…..and Tete makes a welcome addition to this group of filmmakers