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Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.
Coming of age, on a Barcelona beach, during an eventful week: Nico arrives at Dani's for part of the summer. Dani's parents are away, Nico is keen to lose his virginity, and Dani, who's been Nico's friend since grammar school, wants time only with Nico. Dani's plans to hunt and fish are waylaid when Nico catches the eye of Elena and her cousin Berta. He wants to go to the beach with the girls, cook them dinner, and make love to at least one of them. Dani wants social and physical contact with Nico. Watching from a short distance are Sonia, Dani's tutor, and Julian, a gay writer, who picks up Dani's vibes. Can Nico and Dani sort out friendship as well as their mixed desires? Written by
The film is just a story, but it's very, very good storytelling, and I'd be hard-pressed to explain why it's so good. It has to do partly with the fact that at first we think we know right where it's going, and that the worth will be in how it gets there -- we're amused by Nico's interest in girls, he's obviously gay (right?). What makes the Dani and Nico characters so believable is in the handling of the material, and the very smart decision to not really define anything. It's very realistic about the first sex between boys, and how it so often has to do with sex games (here, masturbation tips).
Before we have a clearer handle on the (differing) sexuality of the two characters, their sex seems to play like this: they see girls, they get aroused, and they take out their sexual frustration on each other. And that works because of the two characters' subtle manner -- Dani's creepy preening, Nico's goofy charm, and how at first it's Nico who seems to be the most "gay" of the two boys, simply because he has precise features and is abnormally skinny. (Like "Edge of Seventeen" or "Beautiful Thing," two of the best gay self-discovery films, the boys here look real.) The emotions, and the past histories of the characters -- like the man whose house Dani goes to, or the woman who, too, had a special girl friend when she was young -- are kept appropriately inexact.
Aside from the talent at passing along this story, there is also a nice feel the film has -- something like a cross between the accessibility of a Western and the human interest of Ingmar Bergman... It's like a funky road trip, with that harmonica music and the very apt photography, as well as the suggestive intertitles of dialogue that will occur later in the film. A comparison between this and "Y tu Mama Tambien," of the following year, would not be in vain. 8/10
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