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Gianni Da Campo
In 1990s Spain, the strong friendship between a gay man and his female best friend is tested by his entering into a relationship with another man. The girlfriend, used to getting all the attention from her gay male friend, becomes somewhat jealous of "amor de hombre" (love for another man). This "new" situation changes the lives of all the characters involved. Written by
Professional Life, Hedonism and the Meaning of Friendship in Madrid
AMOR DE HOMBRE is a smart, snappy, fast-paced, entertaining little film which considering its release date of 1997 was a precursor to the now frequent appearance of films that deal with tender relationships between gay men and straight women ('My Best Friend's Wedding' and all the spin-offs). It is a smart script, well cast and acted and directed and scored and should be given the chance for a theater release now, in more expansive gender-friendly times.
Ramón (Andrea Occhipinti) is a handsome, successful lawyer in Madrid who happens to be gay and unlike most of his friends has not settled into a partnership. His closest friend is Esperanza (Loles León) who is a divorced school teacher, just turned 40, who love Ramón and constantly tries to help him find the 'right man' while Ramón tries to help her find her 'right man'. They party together with all of Ramón's professional friends - doctors, businessmen, teachers - and Ramón is hedonistic enough to have a different be partner every evening. After an automobile accident in which Ramón is injured, Esperanza moves in to care for him, a care that includes asking one of her fellow Phys Ed teachers Roberto (Armando del Río) to offer physical therapy and massage to the ailing Ramón. Because Roberto seems to rebuff Ramón's growing obsession with an unattainable straight man, the therapy ends when Ramón is able to walk. A twist occurs once Ramón is well and Roberto changes roles and is seductive to Ramón, a romance that comes to a tragic ending. In the end it is the quality of friendship between Ramón and Esperanza that provides the lasting nucleus of this tale.
It is refreshing to see a film that focuses on healthy men who happen to be gay instead of a series of beleaguered victims of the usual stereotypes who end up with hopeless tragic lives. Yes, the circle of friends seems always on the watch for the 'new man on the block', but the cruising is healthy and fun. The movie works so well because of the fine writing and direction by an amazing team - Yolanda García Serrano and Juan Luis Iborra - who seem to have pared down life in Madrid's professional sector with a fresh eye on variety! The cast is superb with special kudos to Loles León and Andrea Occhipinti. This is a light and very entertaining comedy with a message. Recommended. In Spanish with English subtitles. Grady Harp
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