Wednesday, October 21, 2015

NewFest ’15: Everlasting Love

Sex does not get much more dangerous than this. A professor might think he is engaging in a moderately risking bit of cruising, but it puts him on the radar of a decidedly sinister circle of friends in Marçal Forés’ Everlasting Love (trailer here), which screens as part of the inaugural Queer Horror Night at this year’s NewFest.

If you are expecting to hear the disco version of Robert Knight’s R&B hit, forget about it. However, this thicket of woods in Barcelona is a lot like the club in Friedkin’s Cruising, except it draws straights and lesbians in search of hook-ups as well. Carlos, a middle-aged Chinese language instructor often comes there for the obvious. He also recognizes the attraction of one of his shy students. Toni is not really his type, per se, but at the right time, in the right place, anyone is Carlos’s type.

Unfortunately, Toni has trouble accepting the whole one night stand thing. This troubles Carlos, but he should really be worried about Toni’s friends. Although Forés only shows us oblique glimpses, it is enough to understand these kids are profoundly bad news.

Although just under seventy minutes, Everlasting is a fascinating example of how visual perspectives can elevate feelings of dread and suspense. Cinematographer Elías M. Félix’s wide-angle shots give us a disorienting view of events that conceals as much as it reveals. By the same token, it gives the film a lush, exotic vibe that bizarrely compares to Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin in that strictly limited respect.

Considering Aimar Vega’s Toni is intended to be a shrinking violet who appears to withdraw into himself like a turtle on-screen, Joan Bentallé deserves most of the credit for carrying the film like a pack mule. As Carlos, he is roguishly reckless and hedonistic, yet viewers will squirm for him as he unknowingly facilitates the inevitable.

Everlasting is creepy and economical. It also ends on a defiantly surreal note reminiscent of Park Chan-wook’s iPhone short, Night Fishing. Despite its restraint, the unsettling mood should definitely appeal to fans of horror movies and dark thrillers. Recommended for open-minded art-house genre fans, Everlasting Love screens this Sunday (10/25) at the Chelsea Bowtie, as part of NewFest 2015.