Sunday, June 12, 2011

Absent (Ausente)

Absent (Ausente), dir. Marco Berger, 2011 Argentina, 87 min., in Spanish with English subtitles 
Sun. 6/19, 9:15p @ Castro, ABSE19C
Martín (Javier de Pietro, foreground)
and Sebastián (Carlos Echevarría)

In Absent, 16-year-old Martín seems to be stalking his gym teacher, Sebastián, engineering an excuse for Sebastián to take him to the hospital, weaving a web of lies in order to spend the night on Sebastián’s sofa, and working his way into Sebastián’s life. But everything is not as simple as it seems. Despite having a girlfriend and a pretty ordinary life, Sebastián is clearly thrown off balance by Martín. Near the end of the film, we revisit several incidents from an alternate perspective: who is really stalking whom?

Absent is a well-crafted psychological thriller, building the tension between the main characters steadily as their mysterious relationship unfolds, re-folds, and unfolds again. The camera work, lighting, and musical score all help to set the mood as the characters build to a slow boil. Highly recommended.

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