Daniel, a gay accountant approaching middle age who lives more than a comfortable existence, does not begrudge the large influx of immigrants, many refugees, coming to his homeland Spain in search of a better life, and they doing whatever they need to in their adopted home to eke out that better life. He also is willing to do his small part in that help if he can. He may be able to kill two birds with one stone when he meets one of those refugees, a younger Bulgarian named Kyril who is physically exactly his type. Kyril is up front that he is penniless and has a girlfriend, Kalina, back home in Bulgaria that he loves. Regardless, Daniel and Kyril begin a sexual relationship, it developing into love of different forms on both sides. While Daniel's love is more traditional, Kyril truly loves Daniel as much as a straight man can love another man, partly in all that Daniel can do and ends up doing for him, such as helping him with his immigration. Daniel has to decide how much he can ...Written by
Not the best film ever to come out of Spain, but makes some pertinent points about some contemporary issues, which must surely be (almost) as timely in the US as for us in "federal" Europe at the moment. Not least of them, how much are our perceptions of love, loyalty and honour shaped by our perceptions of our relative socio-economic and geographical circumstances?
Personally, I agree with the reviewers who felt the Bulgarian interlude is very important for assisting characterisation - particularly for helping explain the motivations of Kyril and Kalina. I can understand some bristling at what they see as offensive clichés about disenfranchised eastern Europeans, but hey, it's the work of one director, not some Party committee. However, he does seem to tread the line between thriller, comedy and Almodovar-style melodrama with the unease of someone who's a bit rusty (and the clunkingly obvious "tribute" scene to Almodovar's "Law of Desire" when Kyril and Daniel are returning home from a drunken night out as Madrid's municipal cleaners hose down the street could only ever make you pine for that earlier, greater work).
Having said that, I think it bears repeat viewing. But, as for the "gratuitous nudity" - uptight Americans get over yourselves, please. There is hardly any.
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