Sunday, January 8, 2012

Revenge of Netflix-a-thon (#5) EN LA CAMA (aka 'In Bed')

And speaking of sex...... yeah, get your attention?

'In Bed'... and other stuff
A one night stand usually goes - you meet up, you do it, and then you amscray (or in the case of Knocked Up, you do... and then you meet up again two months later).  In En La Cama this is the unusual variety of the one night stand where the couple who's just met goes to a motel, fucks, and then... stick around through the night, and talk and fuck and talk and fuck.  Not too complicated as a premise, and for an independent filmmaker (and I think a first time filmmaker, or at least a young one, Matias Bize) it's a novel way to start off with basically no budget - two actors and a bed.  In a sense it goes another step further than Godard who had a long (but not feature-length) set-piece with his two leads in bed talking and screwing around.

How well the film works then depends on how good the conversation is and what the acting is like.  In the course of the film we learn about the characters and how they got there, in some way or another (one is engaged, the other has an ex girlfriend), and there's some of the banter that comes with a young filmmaker writing for 'young' people (in their 20's).  There's dialog about 80's cartoons, movies (and what categories a person might fall into), a dance 'number' to a song on the radio that Daniela (Blanca Lewin) does for Bruno (Gonzalo Valenzuela), and then some more serious talk about their past relationships, sick family members, or what's specifically *not* said.  Oh, and a condom breaks at one point.  Maybe, maybe not, who knows, fertility time? 

cigarette time.

The actors do the best they can - actually, mostly, Lewin does a lot better.  Valenzuela can carry some moments, notably near the end when he gets sad that this is all seeming to actually come to an end, but I was impressed how much Lewin showed and then what she held back, or what she wouldn't say in those little moments with her partner.  As for the script, it's a mix of curious, cute, cool and a little pretentious dialog.  But then again maybe that's who these characters are.  I almost thought at some point it could have ended sooner than it did, and then another sex scene came around - which is not unwelcome as the actors are attractive enough to pull it off. 

I may have wanted it to either go longer, or go shorter.  It would depend on what else these characters have left to say to one another.  What does make En La Cama work is that the actors have chemistry, and they're able to carry when the director has to flap back on traditional coverage for a dialog scene (for the sex he's a little more creative, though never again as ambitious/stupid as the opening of the film which is a jumble of sheets and skin).  It does speak to a truth about couples, but it also goes into little aimless sections - i.e. standing on your head to make the blood flow differently to your genitals or something(?) - that aren't terribly interesting.  It's ultimately like Before Sunrise/Sunset lite but with more explicit sex (no actual penetration, far as I can tell) and a more concrete and, if possible, somber ending.

My 'Oh, uh oh' face

A good little curiosity, but I'm not sure how it will sustain any repeat viewings, if at all.  It's a movie fascinated by itself and by its dialog, when it works best in being fascinated by its actors.

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