End Of The Century ***
Starring: Juan Barberini, Ramon Pujol, Mía Maestro
Director: Lucio Castro
In this new Argentinian romance released by Peccadillo Pictures, Ocho (Barberini) is on holiday in Barcelona, where he cruises the beach and streets for a hookup. He spies Javi (Pujol), whom he eventually invites up to the apartment where he is staying. After having sex, the pair spend the day together and it’s not long before Javi reveals that the two of them have met before. In fact, twenty years ago, they were lovers before either had come to terms with their sexuality.
The film follows a strict three act structure, with the first showing the present day, the second their previous encounter in 1999 and the third… well, that doesn’t follow the same rules of space or time. In fact, events take a fantastical reality-blurring turn as we see a whole new take on what happened after their initial encounter.
The movie begins feeling very much like a Before Sunrise or Weekend-style brief encounter movie, but it uses this as a base to skew right off course with a markedly unconventional narrative. It’s certainly original with where it ends up, but the story feels slight in stature and because we haven’t spent an enormous time getting to know these characters beforehand, we don’t buy into their connection in the same way as the aforementioned romances. Add to that the film’s irritating insistence of observing the characters in silence, so we end up not knowing an awful lot about them. As a result, these feel little more than vassals for a fairly generic romance that is playing second-fiddle for the writer’s narrative brainwave.
The characters are likable and the film is heavy on the eroticism, but with a script light on dialogue and a hyper-realistic style we end up only partially caring for its subjects.