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Glue is a bit like the Paul Morrissey Trilogy: hand-held cameras, grainy footage, an easy-going style that finds the interest in passing, seemingly inconsequential moments. Lucas and Nacho, aged about 16, don't do a lot, but are alienated from the adult world and often found out on bikes under a green sky, against reddish earth. The look of the film is sharply expressive: these boys on a bus, for instance, the sunlight casting strong, bright shadows on Lucas's face, against the shiny red seat. Going to the city, which we don't really see, they get into sniffing glue, have some kind of sex, having failed to meet up with a girl they like, but they end up having a sexual game with her in a men's toilet at a club later on - what might be regarded as the high point of the film. Not much happens, but it is visually interesting and has a vibe not so far from Easy Rider, but for teens, mining the poetry of their aimless capers. There is no character development, a certain rather vague family strife in Lucas's home, ending with a trip camping, where he and his sister see some flamingoes on a lake that they think are plastic bags until they take off. It's that kind of film - difficult to tell what you're looking at, sometimes, or why, but it all passes with a certain charm - real charm, not cutesy.
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on 9 November 2009
This is one of my favourite films - I'm getting a little addicted to back dating my reviews, but this I feel is more than worthy! It's one of the first films that really got me into quality gay cinema. It's a beautiful snapshot of someone's life, and although there is sometimes a lack of plot, this is not a bad thing as it gives you time and space to really be absorbed by the characters.

Alexis Dos Santos perfectly uses a variety of formats, DV, 16mm and Super 8 footage - each having its own benefits to the section of film they are used to portray. The film has a very authentic feel throughout, mainly helped by the improvisational acting techniques that so many film makers try to use but fail miserably.

All in all, this film is a definite must watch for all new queer cinema or fans of improvisational work. It shows how powerful a portrait of a character can be and how the casts own personal life can influence a films creation in a phenomenal way.
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This DVD was bought without having previously seen the film, so when I sat down last night to watch it I did not know fully what to expect. It is very much like a fly-on-the-wall documentary with dodgy hand-held camera as we watch Lucas amongst his friends and family, experimenting sexually and with substances (hence the title).

But like most films that explore the world of drugs and growing up in this way - that is with little or no script, with no structured storyline, indeed one could argue with no plot at all - it breaks the cardinal sin of being SO BORING. I watched it till the very end, but had already decided well before that I did not want to waste two more hours of my life in watching it again. And so, this morning, it has found its way into the bag for the next doorstep charity collection.
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on 7 February 2008
The latest pedigree offering from the impeccable Picture This! stable, 'Glue' (Spanish, with English subtitles) is a film not easily forgotten. The cast is minimal, focusing largely on Lucas, our 16 year old protagonist, his best friend Nacho, and their age-mate Andrea. We are treated to a glimpse into a few short weeks in the lives of these three characters, as they hang-out, flirt, sniff glue, and enjoy polymorphous physical intimacy in a dusty South American desert town.

But to categorize 'Glue' as a coming-of-age film would be trite in the extreme. While there are many examples of what would be considered the usual 'adolescent angst' (secretly comparing body development against that of friends, awkward silences, parental conflict, watching porn on TV, the importance of music as a form of expression), the portrayal of youth in 'Glue' is more iconoclastic; they are not simply going through a 'phase'. The nihilism portrayed is of a degree commonly seen in films by Gus Van Sant, or in Araki's 'Doomsday' trilogy. There is no sense that the characters will ultimately follow in the subservient footsteps of their parents: they are the last in the line; the contemporary, disenfranchised generation. Araki aficionados will note the subtle, background TV news reports about 'another 15 year old suicide'.

The reference to Van Sant is appropriate also from a stylistic viewpoint. Time-lapsed clouds; blurred and shaky camera shots; sunspots on the camera lens; an emphasis on reddish, earthy tones in the hue and color employed: all add to the impression of a youth eschewing the modern world and trying unsuccessfully to find their way back to nature. This is further emphasized by the role of gender identity in the film - or rather, its absence. The three main characters - Lucas, Nacho and Andrea - are seen in various combinations of sexual interaction; but again, there is none of the typical 'sexual confusion' that we usually see in a pro forma coming-of-age film: they simply follow instinctual enjoyment of physical intimacy, unburdened by their forefathers' limiting preoccupation with gender role:

"What's the difference between kissing a boy or a girl? Boys have beards. That's the only difference, otherwise it'd be the same thing...Why is it that boys don't cry?...Why are there 'girl's things' and 'boy's things'?"

While there is a great deal of humor in 'Glue', the occasions when the viewer can laugh serve as a temporary palliative, rather than as a remedy for the starkness of the nihilistic existentialism. It is only really the characters' attitude towards rejecting received gender identity that provides the film with any genuine optimism. Clearly 'Glue' will not be for everyone: those who find comfort in the simplicity of hard plot lines and linear story-telling, or the superficiality of 'good guys/bad guys' scenarios, will struggle to see the cold, desolate - yet captivating - beauty that provide 'Glue' with it's enthralling, brilliant portrait of contemporary youth. Glue appears to be the first feature-length film from Writer/Director Alexis Dos Santos, a name that is certainly one to watch.
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on 19 May 2010
This movie both disturbed and enlightened me in many ways. At first I found the style to be overtly simplistic, lengthy and crass. However, as the story unfolded I understood why the Director would take such an approach to his story. It is meant to be gritty, raw and open.

Ultimately, this amounts to a painful examination of a disintegrated family, which in these times is neither unusual nor rare, and the impact such has on youth. Now I am no fan of the 'traditional family values' argument, as this is often overstated to the point that abuse, intolerance and outright failure is ignored. I am however, a fan of families that honour each other and communicate in a way which is dignified and supportive (despite the differences that will ultimately emerge). Unfortunately, this family is none of the above. The mother is a broken woman having been betrayed by her philandering husband, and yet she tries desperately to find some respect for both herself and her children. Alas, her efforts have little effect, as her children have learnt to merely exist, and in doing have removed themselves from parental influence. If anything they rebel against such, finding solace and direction in their peers. This of course is far from ideal, as their peers are not immune to the effects of broken families, and are within themselves mere students of life.

The great irony in this movie, is that whilst there are no family structures, normative thinking remains a pervasive presence in the lives of these adolescents. This irony is perverse considering that the 'adults' that propagate these social norms, have no moral basis upon which to claim credibility. They are hypocrites, or more accurately products of consequence. The main character Lucas, asks why do we have 'girl things' and boy things' when we are much the same. When you kiss a girl or a boy, the only difference is the facial hair. Whilst somewhat naive in his thought process, his self discovery reveals an interesting paradigm shift amongst youth. They are certainly influenced by normative society, but they are no-longer controlled by it. Their parents are casual observers trying to hold on, severely hampered by their own realisations and impediments.

Some may find the movie too long, as the story takes some time to unfold. This is particularly frustrating when you are well aware of where the plot is intending to take you, and so you may find the internalised self-exploration a little tedious at times. It is however necessary, and the movie in general is well worth watching.

If anything its message is both disturbing and enlightening.
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on 5 August 2014
I loved this film! :)
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on 22 November 2008
I am no film buff, and am dragged to the cinema by my other half to watch what i call 'art films' and he calls 'world cinema', whatever it is called Glue was the winner of the copenhagen G+L film festival 2007. Thankfully not gratuitous but an interesting film into puberty and friends - well worth the watch
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on 25 September 2008
If you have seen the cover, that's about it. Polymorphous sex, a reviewer says. Well, there are some male tits visible, and it's true that in one scene two boys kiss a girl and then each other, but only with decorum, and it may be a mistake. The title is good, since they would rather sniff that than anything else, and it puts them into a sound sleep, thank goodness.
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on 14 November 2007
The latest pedigree offering from the impeccable Picture This! stable, 'Glue' (Spanish, with English subtitles) is a film not easily forgotten. The cast is minimal, focusing largely on Lucas, our 16 year old protagonist, his best friend Nacho, and their age-mate Andrea. We are treated to a glimpse into a few short weeks in the lives of these three characters, as they hang-out, flirt, sniff glue, and enjoy polymorphous physical intimacy in a dusty South American desert town.

But to categorize 'Glue' as a coming-of-age film would be trite in the extreme. While there are many examples of what would be considered the usual 'adolescent angst' (secretly comparing body development against that of friends, awkward silences, parental conflict, watching porn on TV, the importance of music as a form of expression), the portrayal of youth in 'Glue' is more iconoclastic; they are not simply going through a 'phase'. The nihilism portrayed is of a degree commonly seen in films by Gus Van Sant, or in Araki's 'Doomsday' trilogy. There is no sense that the characters will ultimately follow in the subservient footsteps of their parents: they are the last in the line; the contemporary, disenfranchised generation. Araki aficionados will note the subtle, background TV news reports about 'another 15 year old suicide'.

The reference to Van Sant is appropriate also from a stylistic viewpoint. Time-lapsed clouds; blurred and shaky camera shots; sunspots on the camera lens; an emphasis on reddish, earthy tones in the hue and color employed: all add to the impression of a youth eschewing the modern world and trying unsuccessfully to find their way back to nature. This is further emphasized by the role of gender identity in the film - or rather, its absence. The three main characters - Lucas, Nacho and Andrea - are seen in various combinations of sexual interaction; but again, there is none of the typical 'sexual confusion' that we usually see in a pro forma coming-of-age film: they simply follow instinctual enjoyment of physical intimacy, unburdened by their forefathers' limiting preoccupation with gender role:

"What's the difference between kissing a boy or a girl? Boys have beards. That's the only difference, otherwise it'd be the same thing...Why is it that boys don't cry?...Why are there 'girl's things' and 'boy's things'?"

While there is a great deal of humor in 'Glue', the occasions when the viewer can laugh serve as a temporary palliative, rather than as a remedy for the starkness of the nihilistic existentialism. It is only really the characters' attitude towards rejecting received gender identity that provides the film with any genuine optimism. Clearly 'Glue' will not be for everyone: those who find comfort in the simplicity of hard plot lines and linear story-telling, or the superficiality of 'good guys/bad guys' scenarios, will struggle to see the cold, desolate - yet captivating - beauty that provide 'Glue' with it's enthralling, brilliant portrait of contemporary youth. Glue appears to be the first feature-length film from Writer/Director Alexis Dos Santos, a name that is certainly one to watch.
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on 13 October 2008
I'm afraid the first reviewer ( D Elliot ) of this truly awful film is seeing things that simply aren't there. The scenery is OK ( no better than dozens of American Westerns though ). There is little acting, no interesting characters, no plot, no verbal interest and - sorry - perhaps the odd fragment of comedy, if you're desperately seeking something good to say. Trick camera shots /editing do not a good movie make. As for the music, it is truly DIRE! I've heard better from all but the very worst contestants early auditions of the X Factor. Sorry, Mr Elliot, you over-intellectualise and to my mind fall flat on your face. As for the judges that gave this film its accolades, they must have been on glue themselves. This was a time-waste - after half an hour I ended up fast forwarding at x2, then x8, slowing down when I thought there might be something interesting, then speeding up again to get through to the non-ending. If you want real quality S American film, try CITY OF GOD, or BOMBON El Perro.
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