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Can strangers connect? Can casual sex become something else? In Santiago, Daniela and Bruno, both about 30, meet at a party, go to another and end up in a hotel. We join them there as passion becomes talk: do they know each other's name, have they been to hotels with others? There's some playfulness, more sex, a bath, pillow fights, condom problems, stories from their past, conflict. Each gets a phone call, each intrudes on the other's privacy. As the night wanes, will there be anything else? Written by
Despite presenting a situation that normally in any spectacle would become tedious, pointless, and plain claustrophobic - two strangers having sex and talking for just one night in a cheap motel room - "En la cama" succeeds for its authenticity and no holds barred approach, shining a light into two different individuals and the dynamics of men and women. The film is sexy, funny, and poignant.
Actors Blanca Lewin and Gonzalo Valenzuela give a bravura performance as the twenty-something couple who spend over 80 minutes mostly nude in bed baring more than just their bodies. Through their uninhibited lovemaking and conversation, the film explores the possibility of true communication, intimacy, and sexual fulfillment between perfect strangers; the fact that they may never see each other again can allow them to be themselves. From the powerful eroticism of their first coitus to the awkward moments that follow to their comical character flaws to the poignancy of their revelations as the night comes to an end, the film does not judge its characters nor indulges itself in haughty romantic notions or cheap sentimentality. Its clear-eyed, realistic approach provides the vision to sustain our interest.
Although "En la cama" presents a similar situation to the excellent film "Before Sunrise," which also portraits two young strangers sharing just one night, they are totally different and cannot be compared. In "Before Sunrise," hormones and the idea of anonymous sex is certainly not the primary force that brings the couple together while beautiful, classical Vienna shines magically around them creating an ideal romance
that once in a lifetime opportunity that brings you the love of your
life, seize it or you'll live to regret it. On the contrary, the characters of "En la Cama" get together to have pure sex, after which they don't even remember their names, spend the whole movie in one nondescript motel room (other than it has a sign reading "sexit"), and there are no romantic possibilities for them. Yet, their revelations are deeper as their intellectual differences, emotional wounds, and flaws manifest through the course of the night.
Without a question, this film is a giant step in Latin America cinema, effortlessly combining the nudity and sexual frankness of a classic such as "I'm Curious - Yellow" or more recent "The Dreamers" with the philosophically-different buddy films such as "My dinner with Andre." A must-see for lovers of those genres.
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