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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 20 February 2015
Hawaii is a bit like an old silent film, except that it's in colour, and deals overtly with modes of feeling that were not possible in those days. The music plays a very prominent role, especially at the beginning and end, often covering the dialogue to create an atmosphere. It is all about the images and their precise tone which is given through the music, which has an orchestral/chamber richness but always on the gentle side. Where the two men do speak, the amount of information tends to be surprisingly abundant, so that those moments do register, and you have to concentrate. Not much happens but it is a subtle portrayal of a growing love which leaves quite a lot open to the viewer. There is, quite literally, a viewer for discs of slides that seems to work as a metaphor for the writer character to see into his own heart, and this motif appears only towards the end. If the pacing were faster, it would not register properly. This character, Eugenio, is quite middle-class and staying in his uncle's house, while Martin is a drifter born on the wrong side of the tracks whose aunt has gone from the village of his childhood. He's the kind of character more common in American films. Both men are attractive on screen without conforming to the pinup stereotype: Mateo Chiarino, for instance, is marvellously ungym-toned for someone of his physical type, but his natural body, with its undeveloped shoulders, is very alluring. They both look exposed without their t-shirts, as opposed to naturally half-naked. Typically of Marco Berger, there is a surprisingly intense charge to some of the scenes and the voyeurism of gazing at the boys in their underwear is certainly a factor. Still, if Hitchcock can do it with women ... The context here is diametrically the opposite of the master of suspense, intimacy being everything. Nevertheless there is a huge penknife on one of Eugenio's t-shirts and a disturbing incident of cruelty from the men's childhoods is mentioned. Not much is made of these things, except perhaps to suggest other notes floating in the background that may be a part of life, but not in this idyllic phase of early maturity. I did wonder if it wasn't a little too low-key but this is what is so daring about it - it adopts an intimate tone and keeps its eye on the sensuality of these characters in their summer bubble.
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on 9 February 2016
This film is perfect. It is understated, beautifully acted and beautifully filmed. It is romantic with intelligently realised emotional depth, and in that, it feels like the very best of French cinema. I kept expecting, but hoping desperately, because I was enjoying the easy pace of the narrative and the subtly realised characters of Martin and Eugenio so much, that it wouldn't descend into a formulaic gay romp – be warned, if that's your liking – and it doesn't. The denouement is almost incidental and, no spoilers, it is the kind of intelligent film that doesn't need to pander to expectation. I recommended this film without reservation.
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on 16 October 2017
I have seen an hour and writing this at the same time is the film is so boring and the script so banal. Of course I am listening to the dialogue at the same time as I write half watching, fortunately my Spanish is fluent. Perhaps if the actors had been vaguely attractive... with good bodies as they spend most of the film taking their shirts off and glimpsing at each other's flabby pale bodies. Anyway, a pity the producer wasted money on this slow film, instead of choosing a decent low budget plot and something original. Of course five stars ratings come from people or friends involved.
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on 10 October 2015
Cinema audiences today are bombarded with so much vacuous content – tokenistic action, violence, movement and noise. It is therefore an immense pleasure to find oneself in the hands of a filmmaker who is interested in documenting the quiet, more meaningful moments of human experience. Argentinian director, Marco Berger, has already garnered international acclaim for his first two features – the tentative but original, Plan B, and the poetic, Teddy Award winning, Absent. In Hawaii, he continues to explore a now familiar motif in his work – the developing sexual tension between male protagonists. In Plan B, this concept manifests as an experimental subversion of societal norms. In Absent, he depicts how the transgression of these norms can have dangerous ramifications. In Hawaii, he has produced something quite unique – the cinematic rendering of the male body as object of desire.

He achieves this by juxtaposing the lives of two men from completely different socio-economic backgrounds. Eugenio (Mateo Chiarino) is an itinerant labourer, sleeping rough in the small Argentinian town where he lived as a child and to which he has recently returned. When searching for work, he encounters childhood friend Martin (Manuel Vignau) who is living alone at his family’s country home. When Martin offers Eugenio work, and ultimately live-in accommodation, their obvious attraction for each other escalates during the warm, often languid, days of the Argentinian summer.

Although Eugenio initially devises a series of harmless conceits to shroud his apparent homelessness, Martin’s status as published writer and inheritor of family property makes it clear that he is in the more economically fortunate position. Thus, Martin bestows Eugenio with gifts of books, clothes, food and various domestic comforts. These seeming acts of charity serve the dual function of allowing Martin to contrive and choreograph situations that will render Euginio naked. What ensues is a kind of homoerotic spectacle where both men use their bodies to compete in a subtle power play.

An important ingredient in the aesthetic design of Berger’s vision is Tomas Perez Silva’s cinematography. Silva had already demonstrated an eye for unconventional camera angles and provocative framing in Berger’s earlier films. In Hawaii, he is faithful to the sexually charged point of view by using shots that focus and linger on pivotal parts of the actors’ bodies - a technique rarely seen in mainstream cinema today. Although there is much provocation aroused by shots of, say, Martin’s wet swimming trunks, it is the wider possibilities of how the couples’ accelerating desires will be satiated that we are even more interested in. This is due to the impressive cumulative effects of Berger and Silva’s collaboration and the reason why they are two of the finest talents in world cinema today.

Another reason why the film is successful on many levels is the inspired casting of Vignau and Chiarino. Both transcend their obvious heartthrob appeal to turn-in performances that imbue the film with realism and restraint. Vignau, in particular, has the actorly skill of suggesting thought and feelings that breath life into an otherwise deceptively static frame.

Perhaps the film’s only limitation is that, by the end, we do not gain a particularly deep comprehension of exactly who these characters are. Therefore, I do feel that it may have been instructive for Berger to have incorporated some additional dialogue that may have provided further psychological insight. Despite this, it is worth acknowledging just what a finely tuned and delicately balanced work Hawaii is. A film that so easily could have been derailed by pseudo-pornographic excess is, in actuality, one of the most evocative mood pieces I have seen.

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on 21 November 2017
A little bit strange love-story, but if you know more film's from Marco Berger you recognizes his way of making a story. It's not always dull as they like to appear, there is always a story. In this story you can see that de main character have feelings for the other one, but the other one not direct back. After the people next to the main character notice the love then he suddenly making a move. What's making the story in the end very complicated, ends up unexpected different than you expect. Recommend the movie, hope to see more from Marco Berger.
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on 13 May 2015
I was totally charmed by this movie as I was by the other Marco Berger film I have seen, Plan B. I do like his films and will now follow up on Absent. They move at a slow languid pace without much of a story line but are beguiling. Also very real. The protagonists slowly but surely come to the realisation of their attraction to each other but it takes time for that first move to happen. As a result, there maybe no sex, but the tension is very erotic. You are left memorised waiting for the inevitable to happen and thank god it does. Nothing like a gay movie minus the stereotypes and with a happy ending. The performances here are very good. It is more or less a two hander and both actors equip themselves admirably. Can't wait for his next movie which I understand will be Butterfly.
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VINE VOICEon 15 August 2017
This is the third gay film from Argentina I have watched, each as boring as the rest. The actors are wooden, the dialogue leaden, the camerawork amateurish and the plots so devoid of action as to be almost non-existent. There is neither wit nor pace in the unfolding of the story and the houses used for filming look as if they have been abandoned for years. Save your money and buy a good book!
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on 26 August 2017
This was a letdown after watching Plan B by the same director. Similar theme but in this film the writer character is simply not endearing, and in fact he is a bit of a perv, as demonstrated by the 'sleeping grope' scene. My advice - invoke Plan B.
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on 16 August 2015
There's not much to add to the reviews which have already been posted. This is a very good film. It is slow moving, perhaps to build the tension, but also perhaps to reflect the reality of relationships between men, neither of whom knows, or can be sure of, the sexual orientation of the other. There's not a lot of dialogue, which is perhaps fortunately as the sub-titles when they appear are a bit difficult to read in their entirety.
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on 22 December 2014
This is not your usual gay themed movie where two guys meet and immediately jump into bed, but rather a tender and loving tale where two men gradually realise that they have feelings for each other. The slow moving pace of the film is perfect for such a tale and Chiarino gives a mesmerising performance as the young drifter who eventually realises that he can return the love of the gay man who has taken him into his home.
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