Young Hunter | El Cazador (2020) *** Rotterdam Film Festival 2020

January 26th, 2020
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Marco Berger | Drama, Argentina 90’

Marco Berger’s latest film is a sympathetic exploration of gaydom in modern day Buenos Aires.

Berger won the Teddy award for Absent in Berlin eight years ago. This latest is an enigmatic feature that pictures its young protagonist on the hunt for a partner. Fifteen-year-old Ezequiel (Juan Pablo Cestaro) is seen discussing a porn magazine with his heterosexual friend in the open scene. He is not sure how to approach his sexuality, but with his parents away travelling now seems as good a time as any to take things forward.

In the skater park he meets the tattooed Mono (Lautaro Rodríguez), who seems ready to be his friend – but is so cool and laid back it may be that he is not gay. And soon Ezekiel finds out that he was right to be diffident about Mono.

This LGBTQ+ feature manages to keep us intrigued with its undercurrent of tension and Cestaro’s acting talent that conveys palpable chemistry and playfulness retaining a certain vulnerability about his character. Rodriquez’ Mono reciprocates with sultry glances and a certain insouciance which adds to his allure.

But there are some plot issues and the heavy-handed score telegraphs moments of caution almost cueing them to happen rather than allowing the story to unfurl naturally. Berger introduces another character to the story in the shape of a younger boy Juan Ignazio (Patricio Rodriquez) and this adds adds another dimension to the piece informing act three.

There is nothing particularly innovative about the film’s straightforward camerawork and aesthetic but the performances are impressive across the board and particularly thoughtful is the subtle interplay between Ezekiel and his father (Luciano Suardi) who is there for his boy although he does not necessarily understand his motivations.  MT

ROTTERDAM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2020

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