*A 2007 (U.S. DVD) Release*
GLUE (Argentina-U.K. / 2006)
Partly inspired by debutant feature director Alexis Dos Santos' personal experiences of growing up in a small, dead-end town in the southern Argentinean region of Patagonia, where his family moved to in the late '70s due to political reasons, Glue (Glue - historia adolescente en medio de la nada) is an impressionistic yet poignant account of adolescent alienation and sexual awakening. The film centers around Lucas (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), a gawky, sleepy-eyed fifteen-year-old "music-head" who spends the lazy summer days with his best friend Nacho (Nahuel Viale). While incisevely capturing their excursions, no matter how wayward, Dos Santos and DP Natasha Braier's camera at times feels just as restless and indeterminate as its subjects do. Not so the case when Lucas is home, where the sticky focus on bodies, not to mention the familial conflicts, feels Martel-esque. The young lads eventually befriend a mousy and bespectacled local gal (Inés Efron), whose inhibitions render her their female counterpart, and make plans that don't quite come to fruition, much like everything else during that phase of our lives. Largely improvised, the film is a moody collage of prosaic moments that nonetheless manage to tell a story, a universal one involving exploration of teenage identity and self-discovery. To facilitate that process, the DV camera is relieved for a grainy Super-8 for a handful of moments which help sniff out the protagonists' hormone-laden inner anxieties and frustrations. The spacey, Van Santian soundscape also does wonders in that wind-whipped milieu, creating an effect that is as spatial as it is temporal and psychological. Dos Santos' aesthetic is not as consistent in the second half, and like most debut features, Glue runs a tad too long, but despite any shortcomings it is an intimate and introspective sketch, one which seems very real.
[C+ = Average / B- = Above Average / B = Good ]