La Cama (The Bed)
How long does love last? Three years? Three decades? Argentian director Mónica Lairana dives deep into this painful question with her debut feature, The Bed. The film follows a middle-aged couple, Jorge (Alejo Mango) and Mabel (Sandra Sandrini), as they prepare for their separation and spend their final day together in their house.
The movie begins with a gut-wrenching, failed sex scene from one fixed shot that sets the tone for a couple who are incapable of keeping their love alive any longer. This introduction blends themes of familiarity, fear of ageing, comedy and tragedy all in one.
The Bed spends a day with the couple as they sort through old trinkets, pack boxes and move furniture without much conversation; perhaps there’s little left to say. The characters remain mostly naked throughout, which acts as a touching metaphor for two people who have nothing left to hide or reveal to each other. Their house, much like their lives, looks frozen in another time: yellowing wallpaper and dust-covered furniture from the 70s.
The protagonists swing between pity and frustration with each other. They need to part ways but they’re afraid of what lies ahead, if there’s anything at all. Mabel sneaks away to the bathroom for private cigarettes where she pushes and pulls the wrinkles on her face or tries on an old dress, desperate to capture the youthful vivacity displayed in old photographs on the wall.
Unfortunately, though dwelling on this departure without much dialogue, over the course of a day, is thematically strong, it is quite a slog for the viewer. The opening sex scene establishes and expresses so much and then not much develops afterwards. The feature format repeats the same points over and over. The Bed is a poignant meditation on the painful end of a love that has already endured so much.
La Cama (The Bed) does not have a UK release date yet.
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