Friday, September 09, 2011
AGLIFF24 MOVIE REVIEW: MI ULTIMO ROUND August 24th, 2011
It’s movies like Mi Ultimo Round (My Last Round) that make being an aGLIFF24 programmer/screener so rewarding. In my opinion, this is the finest LGBT feature film I have seen all year. I have reviewed 190 of the 300 submissions and this is an impressive film. Mi Ultimo Round is rich in character, deep in emotional connections, original in its settings and locations as well as moving in its superb acting and directing.
An official Tribeca Film Festival selection, Julio Jorquera Arriagada, in his directorial and screenwriting debut, has created a new and fresh gay love story set in Santiago, Chile, in the gritty world of boxing. The originality of this story is something to be praised because you quickly become fascinated by the setting, characters, and this unique love story of opposites.
The quiet and shy Hugo (Hector Morales), having just lost his mother and now confronted with a bleak future and no job, spies in a moment, the middle aged but macho boxer, Octavio (Roberto Farias) on his usual jog. Hugo heads into his small town of Osorno to look for work finding it in a local restaurant. A dramatic event one afternoon near Octavio’s boxing rink brings the two together for the first time. Octavio suffers from a life threatening health condition and after consulting doctors is told he will never be able to box again. Octavio is stunned because boxing is his life and in his blood.
Octavio’s attraction for Hugo soon turns intense and on discovering where Hugo lives, pays him a visit one evening where Hugo can no longer deny his attraction for Octavio as well. This particular scene is artfully crafted in a way that makes you aware, in unspoken words, the tender afterglow of their love making making it clear they are madly in love with each other.
Weather is an effective omen throughout the film and on a lonely, rainy pier they realize their relationship could not survive in this small town and decide to move to Santiago where they can live a happy private life. Hugo finds work in a pet supply store and befriends the daughter of the owner and Octavio finds work as a barber. Hugo’s friendship with the store owner’s daughter because flirtatious and give the daughter the impression a relationship is developing. Octavio overhears of a boxing match in his barber shop and one evening after attending the brutal match, re-ignites his passion for boxing.
One day the daughter of the pet store stop by Hugo’s apartment where only Octavio is home. She tells Octavio of her relationship with Hugo, and while Octavio’s demeanor is cool and calm, you can sense the utter rage boiling underneath at Hugo’s unfaithfulness which climaxes into the turning point of the film.
This is a unique and dramatic gay themed film. The more you get involved with the characters the more engrossing it becomes. Mi Ultimo Round has a realistic craftsmanship which is uncompromising in it’s depiction, despite Hugo and Octavio poverty and differences, of an intense, loving, tragic, gay relationship, I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to watch such a groundbreaking gay film. For a gay love story, its a total knock out.
Relationship troubles also spill over into the comedy Coffee & Pie, a whimsical short about how to deal with a break-up, especially when it’s with a pretty manipulative person. Offbeat and insightful, the film introduces the audience to a new, profound term-confucked.
Contributed by Roger Cook, Screening Team
FEATURE: MI ULTIMO ROUND (Dir Julio Jorquera; CL; Gay; Run Time 87min)
SHORT: COFFEE & PIE (Dir Douglas Horn; US; Lesbian; Run Time 16min)
10September: 7:15PM, Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar