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Monday, July 3, 2017

'Esteros' DVD: Teen Boys Find Love and Friendship



Breaking Glass Pictures breaks into the realm of sensitive gay-themed coming-of-age stories with the recent DVD release of the 2016 South American drama "Esteros." This well-crafted movie tells the tale of barely adolescent boys reuniting after what seems to be the requisite 15 years for this type of film following the disruption of a close friendship/period of sexual experimentation in the titular wetlands. This setting and theme makes the repeated metaphorical threat of alligators very apt.

The audience first meets roughly 13 year-old Matias and Jeronimo having a gleefully uninhibited shaving cream fight in a bathroom. We subsequently see the more mature and popular Matias politely shun the cool kids to spend time with "Jero."The next scenes show the boys having great fun being boys in the countryside.

The pair unexpectedly reunite roughly 15 years later when Matias' girlfriend Rochi brings openly gay friend/make-up artist Jero home to transform Matias into a zombie for a costume party. She does not know that these men in her life know each other, let alone their close bond. The most telling moment of the film comes when Rochi realizes what they boys mean to each other and the threat that Jero poses to her relationship before the boys have that epiphany.

Matias predictably later seeking out Jero and sending not-so-subtle signals leads to low-key mutual flirtation that is typical of an outwardly gay man and an object of his affection who is closer to the hetero end of the Kinsey Scale of sexuality. This still unrequited love leads to the boys returning to the esteros.

Returning to the scene of the very sweet childhood crimes leads to rekindling the flame behind the aforementioned experimentation. This, in turn, leads to drama regarding how our boys will respond. Matias regretting his actions, chalking the experience up to nostalgia, or carrying Jero across the threshold of their new home are probable reactions of this "somewhere in the middle" man.

The larger theme of "Esteros" and scads o' other indie gay-oriented indie films with the universal theme of reconnecting with the one that got away 15 years ago that Breaking and its ilk offer on DVD is that the characters get to put those ghosts to rest. This can involve everything from living happily ever after to discovering that the ignorance in the interval between seeing the then love of your life is bliss.

The Breaking standard bonus of a special feature is an interview with the director and the cast of the film.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Esteros" is strongly encouraged to email me; connecting on Twitter via @tvdvdguy is another option.