Saturday, November 9th, 2013

Absent aka Ausente

16 year old Martin Blanco claims to have something in his eye, so Sebastian his High School Swimming Coach whisks him out of Class and takes him to the Eye Hospital Emergency Room.  The doctors give him the all clear, so the teacher offers to drive him home. School is over for the day, and Martin realises that his bag and cell-phone are with his friend Juan who he was going to have a sleep-over with that night.  They cannot locate Juan or reach Martin’s grandmother (his guardian) on the phone so Sebastian takes Martin back to sleep on his couch for the night rather than abandon him on the streets.

Back home they eat and then shower and after Sebastian phones his girlfriend to bring her up to speed with the situation, they retire from the night. Martin is in his tight briefs seductively spread out in the couch whilst Sebastian is sleeping soundly next door. There have been some long lingering glances from Martin, but his teacher is totally oblivious to them, and had he woken up in the night he would have found Martin besides the bed looking at him longingly.

Next day back when he arrives back at School Sebastian discovers that Martin’s very distraught parents are there with the Police as their son hadn’t returned home that night or even called them to say where he was. Martin feeds them a story about being with another school mate which they swallow with the same ease that Sebastian had believed the night before that the boy’s parents lived in another part of the country.

When Sebastian realises he has been conned he challenges Martin for the reason, and the boy is happy enough to ‘fess up that it had all been a ploy to get invited into his home hoping that once there ‘something would happen’ between them.  An angry Sebastian rebukes him but devious Martin knows that if the story ever became public, the Authorities would believe whatever he chose to say, and Sebastian would lose his job.

Argentinian filmmaker Marco Berger’s follow up movie after ‘Plan B’ is full of promise, and sets you up beautifully with this intriguing story full of suspense, but once you are reeled in, just peters out to nothing and leaves you stranded wondering ‘why’? 

We never got a glimpse inside Martin’s psyche to even start to appreciate any rationale behind his actions, and the plot just wanders somewhat aimlessly once Sebastian uncovers his lies. And if that is not confusing enough, the overly dramatic soundtrack hints at something quite dark is about to happen, and it simply never does.

Such a pity as I was so onboard at the beginning willing this to work ….. its beautifully shot, and has some very strong performances.  It did however surprisingly win the TEDDY Award (best LGBT movie) at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011!

Out now on DVD and on Netflix

Posted by queerguru  at  00:37


Genres:  drama, international

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