FROM AFAR (Desde allá), to Robin Campillo's fine French film Eastern Boys, in which an older man trolls an urban hub to find young men to engage in sex, which leads to a relationship developing between him and one of the boys he meets. Yet by the finale of this relatively quiet, thoughtful and very disturbing film, the two movies could hardly seem more different in outcome and moral. Both are excellent examples of cinematic works that rise above their genre -- if, that is, you must place them in the GLBT category at all (they are both more inclusive that merely that) -- because both are built around and depend upon the personality, behavior and needs of their main characters.
Lorenzo Vigas (shown at left), our protagonist is a fellow whose greatest sexual pleasure comes from having his boy face the wall then pull down his pants (uncovering only maybe two-thirds of his ass), while across the room he masturbates to this view. No eye contact at all. When one new encounter goes wrong and then begins to oddly right itself by developing into a relationship, that path taken by Eastern Boys again comes into view. But wait: The lead role in From Afar is played by Alfredo Castro.
Pablo Larraín (from Tony Manero through last year's The Club), shown above, seems to have nearly cornered the market on dark, quietly demented characters, and here, as a man called Armando, he has been given one of his most interesting and dynamic roles to portray. How Castro handles this -- the twists and turns of the plot, the behavior of the young man (beautifully played by newcomer Luis Silva, below) -- is compelling at every step of the way.
Strand Releasing, the movie has its U.S. theatrical premiere this Wednesday, June 8, in New York City at Film Forum and will open the following Friday, June 17 in Los Angeles at the Sundance Sunset Cinemas in West Hollywood. To see all currently scheduled playdates around the country, click here and then scroll down and click the Task Bar on the word Screenings.