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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Sir with Love
This is an Argentinean film from director Marco Berger who brought us `Plan B'. It tells the story of Martin (Javier De Pietro) a swarthy, sixteen year old schoolboy, who has a crush on his teacher, which I am led to believe is a pretty common event. Martins' teacher though is Sebastian (Carlos Echivarria) and he is the sports teacher. One day at swim class Martin feigns...
Published on 5 May 2012 by Tommy Dooley

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
Director Marco Berger has accomplished a great deal in film, and his Plan B [DVD] in particular has received many a deserving accolade. It was largely for this reason that I was eager to see "Absent". The premise is somewhat unusual in that the young protagonist Martin, exploring his own sexuality seeks to seduce his older teacher Sebastian, as opposed to exploring such...
Published on 13 May 2012 by Kurt Clare


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Sir with Love, 5 May 2012
By 
Tommy Dooley "Tom" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
This is an Argentinean film from director Marco Berger who brought us `Plan B'. It tells the story of Martin (Javier De Pietro) a swarthy, sixteen year old schoolboy, who has a crush on his teacher, which I am led to believe is a pretty common event. Martins' teacher though is Sebastian (Carlos Echivarria) and he is the sports teacher. One day at swim class Martin feigns an eye injury and the Proffessore has to take him to the eye doctor. Martin though has unhatched a cunning plan that sees him getting to stay the night with his teacher and closer to the object of his desires.

Martin just keeps pushing the boundaries all the time but in a kind of innocent way and his teacher just isn't sure what is going on. The following day he starts to realise that Martin is not so innocent and this leads to further complications and gets the emotions of both of them all mixed up.

This film is like waiting for a bomb to explode, it is dripping with a brooding quality of lasciviousness that keeps you hooked. There are no bad performances and the development of the characters is both believable and engaging. The musical score is excellent too with just the right amount of mood to compliment the film rather than trying to be a barometer for your emotions.

This is a story of the follies of young adult lust and not about the bedroom gymnastics, so if you are looking for something that you want to `interact' with, this is definitely not for you. It is a slow burner and it won't be to everybody's taste, the ending is also fairly ambiguous, so please be warned, but it had me gripped throughout. In Spanish with good subs this is one for World cinema fans and those who like gay themed films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 13 May 2012
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
Director Marco Berger has accomplished a great deal in film, and his Plan B [DVD] in particular has received many a deserving accolade. It was largely for this reason that I was eager to see "Absent". The premise is somewhat unusual in that the young protagonist Martin, exploring his own sexuality seeks to seduce his older teacher Sebastian, as opposed to exploring such amongst his peers. What transpires is an elaborate, albeit deceptive plan, to spend the night with his teacher in the hope that "something happens between them". Indeed a great deal happens, although not in the way the audience expects. The young teacher, who is as reserved as Martin, seems acutely aware of the dangers involved in this interaction. Despite avoiding such, and making alternative arrangements he agrees to allow young Martin to stay in his home. As a comfort he tells his girlfriend what is happening, not to obtain her approval but rather as a means of addressing his own fears. What unfolds over the course of a week, following that night over, is both surprising and intoxicating to watch.

The irony being that both characters are equally inhibited in their respective truths, and both seem incapable of addressing such head on. Martin is a little more concerning, in that he has a impulsive and destructive streak, which is unfortunately directed against his infatuation. Not that his teacher is innocent, in that his own underlying desires and unspoken truths, make for an aggressive reaction.

Whilst the story itself is titivating, I found many aspects of the film to be stretched and implausible. Whilst I understand an infatuation and how one can attempt seduction, I was not convinced by the teacher/pupil dynamic. This was especially when considering that the society in which both characters resided, was one which was pervasively and accutely conservative. It was almost as if such a thing would be much more difficult to achieve, and if anything far more scrutinised than it was.

The pace was initially very slow, although towards the end of the film it picks up significantly. The characters are well thought out, although at times seems removed. I am not sure that there was a real chemistry between the protagonists, although I concede that this distance may be as a consequence of the setting itself.

Absent achieves a great deal, although not in my opinion on the level of Plan B. Nonetheless, t is a film one should watch, as Marco Berger is extremely good at making what seems to be ordinary interactions, to be fraught with underlying tension and twists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars would make a better comic ... but worth seeing for its subtlety, 25 Jun 2014
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
Absent is an intriguing film from the director of Plan B, Marco Berger, and is brought off with rather more conviction than that film. 16-year-old Martin tricks his swimming teacher into letting him stay at his flat overnight in the hope that something sexual will happen, and the whole ambiguity of emotion arises out of this question of what both characters really feel. The main note of the film is a thriller-like not knowing which way it will go next, and Berger controls the plotline admirably. I would have welcomed more clearcut feeling, less suspension, but then it would have been a different kind of film. As it is, it could already be seen as quite provocative, and the screenplay subtly plays on the taboos that come into the setup very quickly in this kind of situation. The film has a kind of coolness, but holds the interest. A lot of it is shot in close-up. The two leads are both excellent, although Martin was too old for the part, really. Given what the film required him to do, and the frame of mind it put him in, I imagine it wouldn't have been possible to use someone of the right age, as he not so subtly flaunts himself in just his underwear both in front of the teacher and a friend of his own age, both times lying in bed, which may give a clue as to his real feelings. He did have the mannerisms of someone quite young, as did his friend, which was interesting to see acted this way because they did not seem ridiculous. However they weren't quite convincing either, and where we suspend disbelief happily enough in an opera, in a film it is harder. Maybe it should go in the opposite direction to Blue Is The Warmest Colour and be rewritten as a comic, where it could be more accurately represented? It is a bold film, though, and quite original.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It hits you some time after you've seen the movie., 30 July 2012
By 
Leopold Heimburger (Armadale, Victoria, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
It's some time after you have seen the movie the following comes to mind:

Of all sad words heard or seen,
the saddest are: 'Oh, what might have been!'.

This movie is a tragedy in the very literal and classical meaning of a tragedy.

Marco you did it differently this time,
but you did it again!
I await the next one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 16 year old ?, 31 May 2014
By 
Ian G. Manning (Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
I agree with most of the posted reviews, both those convinced, & those not.
I found the film flawed, but well directed & acted, & despite its longueurs, atmospheric & skillful.

However, I am amazed that nobody has commented on the actor playing the 16 yr old, looking at least 7 yrs older than the
young protagonist he is supposed to be playing !
I kept trying to ignore the closeups showing the broad face, 9 0'clock shadow, & the beginnings of a jowl, but found the experience totally at odds with the film's basic premise of unrequited/frustrated love/lust between a randy adolescent & his adult teacher.

I am aware that some young Latins can sprout early beards & look older than their stated age, but for me the director definitely
erred, (or was dissuaded ), from using an actor in his middle/ late teens.

Subsequently, the poignancy of the relationship, despite good acting, was, (for me), fatally undermined

One can forgive films in the 50's & 60's portraying teens as acted by 25 to 35 yr olds, because of the Hollywood Code.
but I can see no reason to extend this dated morality to the 2nd decade of the 21C
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3.0 out of 5 stars A dark, disturbing drama, 26 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
A tragic love story of forbidden lust and missed opportunities? Maybe. Thought provoking stuff to say the very least. Bolstered by two truly magnificent performances from the leads. But sadly a bit of a miss fire. A film definitely not for everyone. But at least there's no explicit porno sex scenes. And only extremely brief fleeting nudity. A sad film. No happiness at all really. One shocking act of mild violence punctuates the darkness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 8 Feb 2014
By 
Newt Beaumont - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
I was in two minds about buying this DVD as I am a fan of both gay movies and also Network Releasing (who I buy The Bill, Heartbeat etc from) and was a little unsure on how good a LGBT movie from Network Releasing would be...

But it was a nice surprise. I wont spoil the film for you. But I really did enjoy it and was shocked about the sadness that happened in the middle of the film :(

But for under 10 this is a good DVD and I will be watching this again :)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Thin plot, but enjoyable, 19 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
It's not a new story, every teacher dreads the attentions of a hormonal adolescent pupil, whether gay or straight. The twist here is the Machiavellian lengths to which Martin goes in his attempt to seduce his PE instructor. Inviting a pupil of either sex to spend the night is a major career risk, and Sebastian has a fright as Martin, having manoeuvered Sebastian into a position where he feels obliged to give the boy a bed for the night, takes a shower, and allows the towel to slip a little as a neighbour talks to Sebastian at the door.
From here the film slides into all too familiar territory. The youth becomes more daring, the teacher finds himself attracted to the good-looking pupil, despite being in a (long distance) relationship with a woman.
The ending is ambiguous, we never know if Martin & Sebastian move to a physical or emotional relationship, and to be frank, I did not care. A pleasant, well-filmed piece, hence 3 stars, but not especially memorable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT IF??, 6 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
I'm not going to share with anything about the story as usual.... you will share emotions, daring, expectations, drama... you will deown in it... this encounter is full of promises, difficulties to come, and life comes as a referee... a vey good film, with unknown (to me, sorry guys) actors who are amazing... it' a beautiful film, moving and you'll remember....
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fell in love with "PLAN B" (a Romance)...BUT this......., 14 May 2012
This review is from: Absent [DVD] (DVD)
......Latest Work is so very much the opposite (well, perhaps there's a "tinge" of romantic love). Instead, we're being given: A Crush-love...almost a Stalkerish-love.

(( THIS IS A 3.5-STAR RATING // POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD ))

(( In a comparison, "Absent" is the more accomplished production....both in camera work and locations-wise. And as in the earlier film, here the Co-leads and supporting actors also cannot be faulted. Javier De Pietro, as Gay-aware, swim team student Martin Blanco, delivers an admirable first film performance as a mid-teens young man who is "crushing" on his team coach. Martin has a "Plan" (but...unlike in Director Berger's preceding film, no alternative, Plan B has even been thought of). Single-minded and intensely focused, our Martin has set his sights on placing himself in his team coach's very own bed. Next, as our unsuspecting object of affection (I mean, obsession), we have the attractive, student-oriented Coach Sebastian Armas (Carlos Echevarria, an experienced actor of some 12 films). This actor ably paints a picture for us of a serious and never smiling, heterosexual(?) man who is much concerned for those under his charge.....and possessing no(?) interest in the Gay lifestyle. ))

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS:

- The opening-credits camera shots, and especially the soundtrack, seem meant to be ominous in nature and apparently have been structured to forewarn where this film is heading. They consist of lingering, closeup angles of young Martin's striking and sexily hairy body. All this in the guise of a sports program physical exam (oh, of course). Continuing this fascination with Martin's body....later on, after our young trainee has manipulated his way into his coach's home, various intentionally provocative poses of Martin, in near undress, are provided by our Director....culminating in an early morning, "touchy-feely" visit to Sebastian's bed, as he lies sleeping.

- We are given long, sometimes static, film minutes (more than one-tenth film's running time) spent in an automobile front seat. Our Co-leads driving from place to place, as required by the storyline. These are uncomfortable (yet probably realistic) times spent together...with little dialog. Similarily, there are MANY other coach/trainee interactions where one might expect easy chatter/conversation. BUT such does not occur...and that is not what I would expect to happen between a dedicated coach and those he is mentoring...but perhaps such is not the case in countries outside the U.S.

- Young Martin appears not to interact with swimteam mates in a normal, youthful manner...and is shown to roam pool changing rooms, in the hopes of seeing other young men in stages of undress.

- After unsuccessful attempts to get closer to Sebastian during that night spent at the Coach's home, and perhaps ashamed of his actions, Martin quickly owns up. He does so in a note left for Sebastian, reading that he had contrived the overnight stay (but he does not specifically spell out what his aim had been). From that point, Martin begins distancing himself, even missing training sessions. Then occurs an uncomfortable scene in which Coach and his girlfriend (yes, he has one) take seats in a cinema, unaware that Martin and a young female acquaintance are already seated there. One seat separating the 2 men, (as the Director has planned for), we suspensefully wait for awareness of each other to hit the fan. Somewhat later, their relationship climaxes (yes, I use that word) in a face to face confrontation: Martin openly admits to his plan for a "hoped-for seduction". ....And Sebastian, realizing the untenable position in which he had been placed, directs a blow to Martin's face, and angry words are exchanged.

- Shortly thereafter, Tragedy Strikes.

We will never know this film's "What Might Have Been". Perhaps even Director Marco Berger cannot know. BUT....in the story's closing 20 minutes, we find ourselves being carried along, in Sebastian's innermost mind, living each day--though he is acting as in a near-trance. Then, startlingly, we begin experiencing "What Might Have Been" memories of past times spent with Martin (but happening as Sebastian wishes they "might" have occurred). Closing shots take place with the Coach revisiting the darkened and ghostly poolhouse. Then follows a final scene of our Co-leads (yes, both) seeking and finding one another in the semi-darkness: ....a Sweet Kiss....an Admission of Regret....a Request for Forgiveness. And we see, for the very first time in this unhappy film, a tender smile appear on the face of Sebastian.

PS--Oh, face it....I want Romance! (M. B. does it so well)
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Absent [DVD]
Absent [DVD] by Marco Berger (DVD - 2012)
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