Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

In The Grayscale

35 year-old freelance architect Bruno seems to have a really good life with a lot going for him. Married to his girlfriend Soledad for 11 years, father of a cute inquisitive 10 year old son, and winner of several awards for the buildings he has designed in his hometown of Santiago. However he has just moved out of his family home to squat in a scruffy room attached to a workshop because he is restless and ‘wants to find himself’.  On the way there he finds German a very successful developer who commissions him to create a new prestigious monument in the city that he wants to become the legacy of them both.

It’s a dream like job that lacks any restrictions at all as the building is to be whatever Bruno is inspired to design.  To help him get a real understanding and feel of the Capital, German hires a young historian who also doubles up as a tour guide to show Bruno every part of the city.  As soon as Bruno meets Fer there is an obvious connection between the two men and Fer, an openly gay man, makes no attempt to hide his attraction to his new straight friend. It’s evident from the start to us the audience that this will inevitably develop into something beyond mere friendship although Bruno takes much longer to arrive at realizing where this is all leading.

After the men get sexually intimate and both their guards are down, Bruno admits that he had thought about sleeping with a man before but never really acted upon these feelings.  His wife however had gone one step further and had stepped out of their marriage for a while only to return after her affair had petered out. Their marriage and now the discovery of his emerging sexuality are both part of the grayscale when it becomes increasingly clear that neither fit into the norm and that Bruno is confused as to where he truly belongs. This doubt spreads over into his work as he cannot overcome a creative block and decide what form the monument should take shape.

Bruno’s indecisiveness is deeply frustrating to Fer in particularly as even as their feelings for each other clearly gets deeper, Bruno’s resistance to allowing their relationship to develop to what seems like its natural course really hurts his lover. Even the encouraging words from his liberal minded Grandfather do not seem enough to sway Bruno from believing that this is just a period of sexual experimentation that has an infinite conclusion.

Newbie Chilean filmmaker Claudio Marcone’s impressive debut handles the whole dilemma incisively with a great deal of compassion and tenderness.  Devoid of any judgement he allows this boy-meets-boy romance to unfurl and blossom before neatly showing us that not everything in life is so black and white.  He does so at a slow comfortable pace that makes the story resonate so perfectly as we come to appreciate how tenuous this relationship and that as much as we may root for a traditional happy-ever-after ending it’s hard to second guess if eventually Bruno will actually walk away from his newly found happiness.

Beautifully understated performances from the two lead actors Francisco Celhay and Emilio Edwards whose on-screen chemistry make this story so compelling to watch.   Highly recommended.

Posted by queerguru  at  12:00


Genres:  coming out

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