Glue
[Historia Adolescente en Medio de la Nada]
© 2007 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

this year's New Directors/New Films and arrives in New York City after playing on
the festival circuit. The movie won the Youth Jury Prize at Rotterdam and earned
some strong notices in Toronto. According to the press notes,
GLUE grew out of a
short film that the director had made about teenagers in London. When he decided
to write and direct a feature film, Dos Santos decided to adopt a more
autobiographical bent and set the story in Patagonia, where he passed his teen
years.

The film centers on teenager Lucas (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) as he negotiates a
summer of uncertainty and raging hormones. The film's plot is fairly weak, almost to
the point of nonexistence, although I'm pretty certain Dos Santos was more
interested in establishing and extending a particular mood.

Lucas spends his days riding his bike, drawing, and passing time with his best
friend Nacho (Nahuel Viale). Like some pubescent boys, Lucas compares and
contrasts his own bodily development with that of Nacho's. He is also dealing with
the stress brought on by his parents' separation and his mother's rather public
accosting of his father's latest mistress.

The boys are also members of a band and Lucas fancies himself a lyricist, although
his attempt is rather lame and self-involved and absolutely dead-on what a teenager
might actually write. He's obsessed with sex and one of his goals for the summer is
to get laid, although he also seems to have an unspoken attraction to Nacho.

When the boys meet up with Andrea (Ines Efron), the trio form a sort of junior version
of the relationship Truffaut explored in
JULES ET JIM. Instead of going that route
fully, though, Dos Santos has other ideas. When he learns that his father is going to
visit, Lucas decides to steal his apartment keys and head to the city of Neuquen
where Dad maintains a bachelor pad. The original plan was for Andrea to join them,
but when she can't the young men proceed without her. Lucas' father is an architect
and his flat is filled with models and cans of glue, which the boys spend the evening
sniffing. In their altered state and with porn playing on the television, the pair begin to
engage in sexual activity.

Dos Santos uses a particular technique -- switching to Super 8 footage -- to indicate
when Lucas (and later Andrea) are indulging in their own thoughts. It's an intriguing
idea that isn't quite utilized to its full extent. Still, it offers the audience a window in to
Lucas' psyche.  For some reason, Dos Santos does not use the idea for the
character of Nacho and therefore the audience knows less about him and what
drives him. And the character of Andrea feels somewhat shoehorned into the action.
As if the filmmaker decided to add a female presence at the last minute. (Although
apparently, the original cut of the film ran over two and half hours, so perhaps her
role was better defined originally.) As it now stands, Andrea is more of an
afterthought. Even in a make-out session involving her and Nacho and Lucas -- as
each explores the other -- she almost seems superfluous.  

In its present form,
GLUE has some intriguing ideas and marks Dos Santos as
someone to watch, but the overall result feels unformed and incomplete. Perhaps in
shortening the movie, something was lost.



                     
Rating:                B-
From left: Nahuel Pérez
Biscayart as Lucas, Nahuel
Viale as Nacho
and Inés Efron as Andrea in
GLUE.

Directed by Alexis Dos Santos,
Argentina/UK, 2006; 110m

Photo Credit: Picture This!