Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Being "bi" in a culture that's either straight or gay: Marcone & Norero's IN THE GRAYSCALE

A welcome exploration of what it means to be a bisexual living, as most of us do via western culture these days, in a world divided into either straight or gay, IN THE GRAYSCALE (En la gama de los grisas) features, as one of its two leading characters, a gay man who insists that his new lover must choose. It's either/or, kiddo. But, no. Despite what our culture insists, including everyone from many shrinks and medical pros to multitudinous gay rights advocates, maybe it's not. As a bi-sexual man who more often identifies as gay because, yes, it's just easier that way, TrustMovies can understand one of the two protagonists on view in this new film -- and at least appreciate to some extent the attitude of the other.

Bruno (played by Francisco Celhay, above, left, and below, right) is a successful architect who has been given a plum assignment of creating a lasting monument for his Chilean city. To that end, his boss has arranged for him to meet and use a local tour guide, Fer (Emilio Edwards, above, right, and below, left). Bruno uses Fer, all right (and vice versa); soon the two are deep into sex and exploration.

The film's writer (Rodrigo Norero) and director (first-timer Claudio Marcone, shown at right) allow the initial five or so minutes to pass without dialog. This is chancy but also enticing, particularly as we see Bruno disrobe completely and retire to bed. When dialog does begin, we learn that our guy is married with a young son, and has suddenly left his family in order to be... alone. For awhile, anyway.

Once we begin to learn the backgrounds of Bruno and Fer -- via a screenplay that allows for some mostly excellent interplay between the two: smart dialog, good moment-to-moment acting, one hot sex scene and plenty of full frontal (on Señor Celhay's part, at least) -- events take place naturally and feel unrushed. It also helps that both men, while attractive, are not drop-dead gorgeous so that we seem to be living in some gay fantasy land.

It also helps that Bruno's wife, Sole (a nice job by Daniela Ramirez, above, left) has her own agenda and reasons for better understanding the situation in which her husband has suddenly placed his family. Fortunately, the moviemakers appear to want to lay out the problem more than try to solve it -- which would take at least another full-length movie to manage. So don't expect a lot of closure here.

Just lean back, enjoy, and consider the pleasures and possibilities of a culture in which the scale of sexuality and its practices has many more gradations than currently are "allowed."

In the Grayscale -- from Wolfe Video, in Spanish with English subtitles and running 101 minutes -- arrives on DVD and digital platforms today, Tuesday, November 3, for purchase or rental.

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