Thursday, August 13, 2015

CANON OF FILM: "LEAP YEAR (aka ANO BISIESTO)"

LEAP YEAR (aka ANO BISIESTO) (2011)

Director: Michael Rowe
Screenplay: Michael Rowe & Lucia Carreras



I have to confess that there are certainly aspects of "Leap Year (aka Ano Bisiesto)" that I'm inherently prone to appreciating, not the least of which is that it's easily the best erotic thriller of the decade so far, it doesn't seem like it would be though. After a beginning scene in a supermarket the movie takes place entirely in Laura's (Monica Del Carmen) apartment, or at least from Laura's apartment. And what a startlingly lonely and quiet place and life she has. She basically eats ramen or something similarly simple to make. There's no sound in the apartment, it's infested with ants and bugs that she burns sometimes with her cigarettes for amusement. She also stares out the window at her neighbors and masturbates to a couple, who are just, well, doing nothing mostly, just existing and being with/in love with each other, sitting on a chair or a bed watching TV. Is this just a mysterious character who's introverted to the point where she desires even the illusion of human contact? Well, maybe, but she's not that introverted, in fact, she often gets dressed up, goes out and comes home with a guy to fuck, even though she's not traditionally attractive. But, here's the thing, when you're alone mostly, away from your family, or anyone really, you end up diving deep into your innermost painful, tragic and even sexual thoughts and desires.I think it's fair to say that the movie is about this character, going through those desires, although who knows what's going through her mind either.

She's apparently a reporter, although I can't imagine she's that good of one, she's fired pretty early in the movie and no wonder, she barely goes anywhere. It's February, and between random fucks it's the most menial of banal everyday tasks and occasionally seeing her brothers when they come into town, she has a calendar the days 'til February 29th. Why? Well, eventually we find out it's the anniversary of her father's death, but we don't learn much more than that. In fact, part of why the movie works so well is because we ultimately learn very little about her. She's one of the more mysterious characters in recent cinema. It's the debut feature from Michael Rowe, who's actually an Austrian-born director who lives in Mexico, and there's definitely a European tone to the film. The movie has been compared to "Last Tango in Paris", and that's a good comparison, but Laura actually reminded me Juliette Binoche's character in Kieslowski's "Blue", a mysterious character who goes through a tragedy and then seems to disassociate herself from the rest of the world. We don't learn much about Laura, although occasionally we get insinuations at the corner of the screens.

She eventually brings home one guy, Arturo (Gustavo Sanchez Parro) who is aggressively sexual enough for her and she then becomes his submissive. Basically, you could read the movie as a woman who waits for somebody to come home and fuck her all day, and that's basically what she's doing and the darker and more violent and sexual, the more enthralled she becomes. Yes, this movie is about a sadomasochistic relationship, sorta. It's sexual, and this is a movie that involves sexual acts with rope, spankings, piss, and even knives and as the relationship continues and the closer to February 29th it becomes, the sex becomes more and more violent. "Leap Year" isn't as erotic as it is striking and mysterious. It dives not into the mental state-of-mind of somebody who ventures into these sexual extremes, but the emotional personal extremes that one is going through them. Sex is used for Laura as a way to feel anything, other than, basically whatever she was already feeling. It doesn't give up anything more in depth, it doesn't even allow us to get into more of our protagonist, it's just an examination of that. In my original review, I wrote that few movies give us so little and keep us so utterly fascinated and yet, that helps the movie work on so many levels.

http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2012/08/movie-reviews-40-carnage-puncture-house.html
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