Openly gay Argentinian filmmaker Marco Berger’s movies are always such a joy to watch and this new one that he premiered at the Berlinale early this year is no exception. As usual the story is steeped in sexual awakenings of his young characters, but for once the central couple are actually heterosexual, although there is still a crucial strand to this story about being open to who you fall in love with, that has a very crucial gay element too.
The movie starts some 16 years earlier and we see a very young mother abandoning her newborn baby in the woods that will soon be discovered by a couple who take her home to raise as their own alongside their son. Then Berger replays the entire scene and this time just as the mother is about to leave the baby she is moved by the sight of a beautiful butterfly in the wind and on a whim, simply decides to hang on to her child after all and bring her up by herself.
Fast forward to the present time and we have two parallel worlds of how different life has turned out for baby Romina. On one hand her adopted brother Germán is madly in love with her and tries his level best not to act on his feelings until he can hold back no more. In the other Romina’s existence her boyfriend is Bruno who is actually Germán’s best friend …… and is a closeted homosexual in both universes. Romina’s best friend is Mariela and she is part of this circle of adolescents craving for love and affection and in one of the universes falls for both Germán and Bruno, before the latter ends up very happily with her brother.
Berger flits back between the two universes initially at an alarming rate and although he has been sure to give each set of friends markedly different hairstyles and looks, it takes some adjusting to keep track of how each of the worlds are panning out. He ensures that we cannot but help like them all in this idyllic picture-perfect Buenos Aires summer, and we are always rooting that their young dreams will come true. Particularly when Bruno, who has been lusting after Germán simply because he was so sexually pent up, and then he finally accepts his sexuality and finds his own romance.
Life between these two parallel worlds ends up not being that much different for Romina and her family and friends as they all inevitably draw closer to whatever makes them happy in this very optimistic world that Berger has put them in. He is a very shrewd observer and it’s in the layered details of the different characters that he always excels at, and which gives his very talented charismatic cast such interesting and realistic roles.