Desde Allá (From Afar)
22nd April 8200 2.44pm at BFI Southbank
17th October 2015 3.15pm at BFI Southbank (NFT)
Though bold, brave and beautifully shot, director/writer Lorenzo Vigas’s provocative drama leaves a plethora of questions that are not only unanswered but hard to form.
Armando, played by Alfredo Castro, seems to lead a lonely life energised only by his elicit meetings with younger boys who he pays for their company and his sexual self-pleasure. His relationship with his father, whilst never verbalised, is one shrouded in foreboding and pain. Elder, a young man he approaches, becomes embroiled in his life in a relationship that skirts the border between a liberating awakening and potential grooming. Luis Silva’s study as Elder is good for what the script allows: a young man who goes from hate and disgust to love and admiration too fast for progression to stand much of a chance. Whilst Castro takes fluently to the silent and self-contained role, the relationship between the two actors feels slightly contrived.
The effect is a little confused, and by the end it’s not clear what really occurred and with what motivation. There is little dialogue; they say actions speak louder than words but Vigas doesn’t give much away. Prolonged eye contact between Armando and Elder may speak volumes to them, but doesn’t help iron out the finer details.
The film itself is aesthetically impressive, using a shallow depth of field intermittently to manipulate our focus onto those all-important silent conversations in the actors’ gaze. Vigas is not scared to shock, ensuring even the more disturbing scenes are displayed in uncomfortable clarity.
From Afar plays with some daring and interesting issues but lacks the dialogue and time to really say anything about them. The plot is there but it could benefit from some clarifying content to really strike home the poignant message of the piece.
Desde Allá (From Afar) does not have a UK release date yet.
Watch the trailer for Desde Allá (From Afar) here