Friday, November 17th, 2017

Argentine coming-of-age movie

Homoeroticism simmers in “Bromance,” the 2016 Argentine movie written and directed by Lucas Santa Ana. It’s Spanish title derives from a line of Adrián extolling friendship as being like a girlfriend without the complications of sex (Como una novia sin sexo). Adrián (Agustín Pardella) is the clueless one of the three friends on vacation in November 1996 at an otherwise nearly deserted beach campsite. He is the first to go to sleep, the last to wake up, and oblivious of the sexual tension between Daniel (Javier De Pietro) and Santiago (Marcos Ribas). Daniel wants Santiago to be a novio, not a friend without sex. Santiago tries to ignore Daniel’s desire. He may return a degree, but is and wants to be straight. (He tries to impress this on Dani when he is aware that Dani is spying on Santi fucking Juli.)

Santiago seduces (or acquiesces to seduction) by Julieta (Luana Pascual), the only other camper, who sets up near the boys on the beach and removes her top. After he has “broken up” with her (/passed her on to Adrián) Santiago says she came looking for cock. He supplied his readily, increasing Daniel’s agonized longings.

Though the characters shed their clothes often, nothing below the waist is shown in the movie, and it is impossible to tell what Daniel and Santiago do when they get it on while Adrián is off with Julieta. (She fellates him before they fuck, though that information only flickers by.)

Like Daniel, I was attracted to Santiago, who is darker and hairier than the other two. Eventually, I decided that Pardella’s calves are too skinny. De Pietro is more conventionally handsome (and doesn’t have skinny calves).

I sympathized with Julieta, who picks up on how Daniel looks at Santiago and wants to know whether Santiago has erotic feelings for Daniel. Adrián freaks out when Julieta tells him that his friends are fags, and Daniel tells Santiago that they cannot be friends, that Daniel wants Santiago too much. A bit late, but childhood and childhood homosocial bonhomie is over by the end of the movie, as the “boys” walk back not very close to each other.

The pace of the movie is slow, with lots of horseplay and videorecording by Daniel.

The TLA DVD has no bonus features, only trailers for two other TLA releases.

©2017, Stephen O. Murray

About The Author

Stephen O. Murray grew up in rural southern Minnesota, earned a B.A. from James Madison College (within Michigan State University), an M.A. from the University of Arizona, a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (both in sociology), and was a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley (in anthropology). He is the author of American Gay, Homosexualities, etc. and lives in San Francisco.

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