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Absent [DVD]
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 May 2012
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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on 25 March 2017
Very pleased with my purchase.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 25 June 2014
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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on 13 May 2012
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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on 28 August 2014
Lovely film, last reviewer was absolutely spot on, it's like a ticking timebomb waiting to explode with teen emotion. Great performances from both main actors and supporting cast, beautifully shot, brooding with sexual tension between this 16 year old boy and his sports teacher, watch it and weep for all those lost teenage crushes
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on 31 May 2014
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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on 6 March 2013
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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on 19 March 2013
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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on 14 August 2015
Plenty has been said in other reviews about the plot of the film, so I won't go over that ground, but it is a thought-provoking film. On seeing and thinking about the sequences at the end where the teacher is imagining being with the student, who is now dead, I have started to wonder whether the section where the boy, while staying in his teacher's flat, gets up, goes to the teacher's bedroom, pulls back the sheet, and slides his hand up the teacher's shorts, is in fact a figment of the teacher's imagination, a wish-fulfilment. When he himself wakes up and goes into the living room, the boy is in exactly the same position on the couch as he was earlier. Feigning sleep? Or has he slept right through? The boy does say later that he hoped something might have happened, to which the teacher reacts angrily and slaps him - guilty conscience? The reaction does seem too extreme for an innocent man. Maybe what happened was in the teacher's mind. Yes, thought-provoking...
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on 12 July 2017
Disappointing
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