Since the early 90s, Queer Cinema has emerged as a distinctive movement with a whole set of formal and thematic preoccupations all its own. In part thanks to the support of international film festivals like Berlin, which has its own “Teddy Award” for queer-themed films, and Guadalajara which recently started awarding it’s own cheekily-titled “Premio Maguey,” Queer Cinema has evolved over the years into a complex and heterogeneous international tendency with no signs of abating.
Of the Latin American filmmakers most heavily identified with Queer Cinema, Argentine director Marco Berger is perhaps one of the most promising young directors working within this tendency, having himself won a Teddy for the 2011 feature Ausente. His latest, Hawaii, is a perfect example of a newer, more subtle approach being taken by LQBT directors, free of the many clichés that have dogged the movement over the last decade or so. While the film is currently making the rounds through international festivals, an extended trailer gives us a taste of its intimate tone and deliberate, poetic rhythm.
Martin is a drifter who returns to the town of his birth only to find himself locked out of the family home, which has been left abandoned. After offering himself as a laborer around town, he takes up with an old childhood friend by the name of Eugenio. Here is where the trailer shows us, through softly-lit medium shots and a sweet, yet disquieting minimalist score, a rekindled friendship that slowly gives way to deeper, more complex feelings. As the two innocently splash around in a river or play target practice with a tin can, Berger’s carefully constructed framing begins to suggest an underlying sexual tension that builds to a climax in one passionate gaze, frustrated when Eugenio suddenly looks away, unable to bear the weight of the moment.