Plan B

| October 3, 2010

Plan B, directed by Argentinean filmmaker Marco Berger, explores a very unAmerican theme: bisexual love. The handsome, disheveled Bruno (Manuel Vignau) tries to woo his ex-girlfriend, Laura’s new boyfriend, Pablo (Lucas Ferraro)by making advances of his own. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love the man he’s using to get even.
This Argentinean gay romance feels like two other gay films of late: Leo’s Room (2009, Argentina) that premiered in the United States in January 2010 and Broken Sky (Mexico). The pace of each film coincides with the sexual tension between two men. Berger stresses heavily their chronic denial tied to machismo and many awkward “almost” moments of physical intimacy before finally setting free their desires. The director makes no claims on his characters’ sexuality and leaves them free to love prior to sex.
Plan B goes for the feeling of real time rather than film time. It is driven by intense, emoting actors who reveal a depth of the complexity on the surface of their faces otherwise not present in many superficial scenes of proscribed dialogue. It’s improvisational style rests easy with the American mumble-core update of John Cassaveties’ improvisational low-budget style. Yet Berger does not purposefully limit his resources. His shots are exacting and executed almost too thoughtfully. The choice of a small cast, crew, and production schedule is a stylistic one once studios latch on to an aesthetic movement as in the U.S. (Cyrus, Greenburg). If anything, Berger could embrace verite and movement in his composition to follow his actors’ arcs even more closely.
Berger doesn’t so much concern himself with the mundane and fleeting as he does with private moments of sexual confusion and utter languish. The length of time we’re left alone with these adorably conflicted thirty-somethings is unsettling but realistic. Better than presenting a gay fantasy of straight men converting, Berger treats them as men on their own terms who take their own time admitting how they feel. It may still be an idealistic destiny for two handsome young lovers, but Latin American gay films, like Plan B, throw labels to the wind and pride themselves on the universality of love.

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