The Argentine import “Esteros” (Spanish for “marshes” or “estuaries”) is a lovely, lyrical drama that follows the reunion of two young men who shared their sexual awakening as boyhood friends.
Matías (Ignacio Rogers) is now a buttoned-up biologist with a girlfriend (Renata Calmon) frustrated by his emotional reticence, but when Matías returns to his hometown for carnival, he unexpectedly reconnects with long-lost buddy Jerónimo (Esteban Masturini), an openly gay artist. Their meeting evokes the adolescent ease and closeness they once had — shown in a wonderful series of flashbacks — before Matías and his family left Argentina for Brazil.
Unfortunately, the guys can’t yet discuss their past, dancing around topics of sexuality, attraction and their current states of happiness — or lack thereof.
That is, until they visit Jeró’s parents’ country home in the Argentine wetlands where Matías and Jeró spent idyllic holidays as kids. Will a nostalgic afternoon, replete with sunning, swimming and a well-timed rainstorm, rekindle their tucked-away feelings? Or will Matías prove too repressed — and Jeró too wary — to fully reconnect?
Director Papu Curotto brings Andi Nachon’s tender script to life with stirring economy and warmth as well as a wistfulness so palpable it’s practically its own character.
Rogers and Masturini deliver soulful, sexy, finely modulated turns, while Joaquín Parada and Blas Finardi Niz are winning and instinctive as, respectively, the younger Matías and Jeró.
In Spanish with English subtitles
MPAA rating: Not rated
Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood