Glue (Director: Alexis Dos Santos, Argentina, 2005): I missed this film at TIFF last year, and was glad to get the chance to see it. Glue is unmistakably a first film, with lots of experimentation, some of which succeeds and some of which fails. Set in rural Patagonia, the film combines a soundtrack that features the Violent Femmes and moody handheld cinematography to give us a window into the life of Lucas, a bored and sexually confused 16 year-old.
Lucas spends most of his time riding his bike around with his headphones on. He roughhouses ambiguously with his friend Nacho, and when they meet shy Andrea, the three form an unusual bond. This isn’t a film with a huge dramatic arc, and by the end, nothing really feels resolved, but it certainly captures a certain time and place in the lives of a few characters.
One of my frustrations with the film was its constant pursuit of the artsy shot instead of the more direct shot. The overuse of extreme close-ups and the reliance on natural lighting left me scratching my head sometimes, as I tried to figure out exactly what was going on. The use of Super 8 footage was a nice touch, adding an element of nostalgia, but again it may have been a bit overdone. There were a few places where a steadier camera would have helped as well, especially when shooting landscape scenes.
The film feels long at 110 minutes, and since there is relatively little dialogue, some of the admittedly gorgeous shots of the Patagonian landscape could have been trimmed, but this is a forgivable sin for a first-time feature director finally getting a chance to stretch out things. I look forward to seeing Dos Santos’ next film.