Saturday, 21 April 2012

Blanca Lewin & Gonzalo Valenzuela in "En la Cama" [2005 Chile]

Talented young director Matías Bize impressed audience with his debut full-length feature ("Sábado, una Película en Tiempo Real" - I'll write about it in a separate post, only hinting for the moment that the entire film was done with a single take). He cast the same lead actress (Blanca Lewin) in his 2005 drama, "En la Cama" [Eng. Title: In Bed], setting out to prove another point - that a full length film can be made (unlike a Andy Warhol), engagingly and illuminatingly from within the confines of one room. Okay, there is an additional scene in the film shot with a different set, but most of the happenings are in the one room, between two characters in a bed. The best part of it all is - it doesn't look remotely experimental. The subject is as mainstream as it gets, just as the characters. What makes the film tick is its excellent script and screenplay.

Beautifully conceived, it doesn't set out to say anything particularly profound, but reveals through dialogue the intricacies of relationships in an insightful manner. The storyline essentially is about a young man and woman, strangers, having a one-night stand after a party. Obviously sex was what in their mind, but one can't possibly keep doing it non-stop without having a break now and again. As wonderful though the sex scenes are to watch, it is during the interludes between removing and putting on condoms that the drama truly takes place. Two strangers attracted to each other in a motel room that's neither's territory, and a whole sleepless night to contend with - surely they have to talk to each other at some point. And they do, if awkwardly at first, about mundane little things like films, comic heroes etc., until they get comfortable enough to talk about their past experiences and relationships. And through the unfolding night, we see their histories unravel, we see them face up to each other naked, unprotected - as human nature intended. And theirs is not that much different to our own...

I'd reviewed this film years ago, but this is a reappraisal for the blog, and also to refresh my memory. This remarkable film is the result of a neat little concept which also didn't go unnoticed by a certain Julio Medem who acknowledged its inspiration for one of his own films. A film made with just two characters in a confined room - should work, just as your own relationship with a cherished one could within the privacy of a bedroom. It requires a fine script to pull it off, which this film does, ably assisted by some sleek cinematography and direction. The only two actors in the film - Blanca Lewin and Gonzalo Valenzuela give a fine performance and generate convincing chemistry between them on screen, although Blanca Lewin pretty much remains the star of the show. The editing may have been a touch overdone, but that's only me nit-picking - it is a fine film as it stands. Needless to say, for those who like to watch cerebral films that are also a visual treat, especially if it is from a magnetic Blanca Lewin, this is Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Amazon DVD Link

About the DVD:
This DVD is from a different era. While it has some interesting extras and unseen (deleted) footage, it is also asking to be remastered. It is letterboxed widescreen, made with older TV sets in mind. I'm afraid we'll have to put up with it until technology catches up.

Compilation: Blanca Lewin and Gonzalo Valenzuela
The blog needs to evolve, and I too am breaking new ground here with this post - which is to highlight nudity from both female and male actors in the scenes featured. These are early days, and I hope I could do justice to both sexes. Except for the quality in this compilation - as hinted above, the DVD is not as good as it could be, and its heavy interlacing means there's really no point in me trying to enhance the scenes at all. But they're not entirely revolting either. The film by the way has many more scenes than I could possibly insert, and there are also blog theme-related deleted scenes that appear among the DVD extras, but can't be included here - it is already too long.

Blanca Lewin and Gonzalo Valenzuela in En la Cama

Scene Guide:
  • A man and a woman take a room at a motel for a one-night stand, not even knowing their names. Daniela and Bruno won't know what to call each other until they've already had sex. They're played by a captivating Blanca Lewin and handsome Gonzalo Valenzuela respectively.
  • One of several enjoyable bed-wrestling/pillow fight scenes from the film.
  • They start talking about films and continue their conversation in the jacuzzi, Bruno encouraging Daniela to think up a story for her film. Followed by a steamy and realistic sex scene - Lewin and Valenzuela strike up a chemistry that's actually quite convincing. It is also beautifully shot.
  • It's 4 AM - too late for this and too early for that, they need to think of something to do. Bruno is 'recharging his batteries', so Daniela offers to help - cue for a Bollywood-style song and dance routine courtesy of a radio - niceee..!
  • As things stand, Bruno still needs time to recuperate, and they get chatting, about faking orgasms, and women's urge to shop (or their reason thereof)
  • The uncomfortable silence after sharing each others' deep-held secrets leads to some much needed passionate lovemaking. Another virtue of this film is that each love scene is spontaneous and unique, perfectly tuned to the couple's perceived state of mind. You don't see the same thing shown repetitively. This time, Daniela's almost perfect orgasm is ruined when Bruno inadvertently calls out his ex-girlfriend's name during climax. :D

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