Winner of the Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival, Vigas’ debut feature is unusual – not only as a Venezuelan feature film, but also as a Venezuelan gay love story. It stars Alfredo Castro as Armando, who delivers a beautifully nuanced performance as the lonely dentist who picks up tricks on the mean streets of Caracas, and whose life is turned upside down by his latest love interest Elder (Silva) as their financial arrangement gradually turns into something more meaningful.
With Armando quietly observing Elder in a relationship without touching or tenderness, From Afar offers a delicious depiction of an unrequited love that exists only in the imagination, while depicting an internalised homophobia that refuses to be broken down. But as the relationship drama swings into political allegory with a sketchy plot to kill Armando’s father, Vigas’ film becomes a disappointingly dour vision of self-hatred. And with a muted colour palette, it lacks the passion of a truly tragic love story, reduced instead to a cold portrait of two men locked in a slow-burning, macabre dance.
Caracas, eine Liebe | Directed by Lorenzo Vigas Castes (Venezuela, Mexico 2015). Starts June 30.