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  • Ben Turner

The Carnival **


Starring: Franco Heiler, VilmarPaiva, Gaston Re

Director: Marco Berger

Country: Argentina


If you’ve ever watched the tanned and muscle-bound performers at the carnivals of Latin America and thought “I’d like to be a fly on the wall in their dressing room”, then this quasi-documentary from renowned Argentine director Marco Berger (The Blonde One, Taekwondo) is definitely for you. If you haven’t, then this is clearly going to leave you cold.


The town of Gualeguaychu is home to the country’s most famous carnival. There, people flock from far and wide to revel in the streets and witness the colourful dancers dressed in feathers, sequins and vibrant colours. Much of the town’s community earn their living year-round from the carnival, creating and sewing costumes for the days of celebration in Shrovetide. And as a group of male dancers prepare and then participate in the celebrations, Berger and his camera crew are watching.


However. All is not as it seems. Most of the cast are Berger’s staple ensemble of actors, who he has placed in this scenario and fabricated various scenes between them. Like a colourful episode of Geordie Shore, we see these men frolicking about together in fictitious scenes that rest heavily on their homoeroticism. Some of them are gay, some of them aren’t, but they all primp and groom each other, before letting loose in the after parties and sometimes getting very intimate indeed. How much of this is fabricated is unclear, but there’s a lot of flesh on show and a lot of contact between them all.


There’s not much to this film, unfortunately. From a British perspective the carnival itself is certainly exotic, but this fabricated documentary feels like little more than an excuse to eroticise and objectify the men involved.


UK Release: Out Now to watch on demand on Dekkoo, released by TLA Releasing.

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