Gabriela Tagliavini's lovely and strange new film "Without Men" has a stellar cast, a fascinating concept, and a surprisingly rich, romantic context‘«™that, even before it's been seen, is being sadly, completely misunderstood.
Without Men is part of Maya Distributor's "Seven Movies in Seven Days," and it had its official opening last Friday in Los Angeles. Eva Longoria, Kate del Castillo, Christian Slater and Oscar Nu??ez head a large all-star cast‘«Űmany of them long-time friends and colleagues of Tagliavini‘«Űto tell the intriguing story of a small town in South America where all the men have been taken away by an oppressive government, and the women have been left behind to build a society of their own, on their own.
Based on James Canon's Tales of the Town of Widows, the characters, concept and look of Without Men owe a great deal of the "magical realism" of writers like Jorge Luis Borges and filmmakers like Pedro Almod??var. Though it's not a political film or an erotic film, there are important (and inevitable) aspects that answer to both. But at its core, it's a story of character and love, and for all its gentle comic intent, it's a serious and touching film as well.
Unfortunately, almost none of its potential viewers or critics know that. All they seem to remember at the moment is the thirty-second clip of Longoria and Castillo in a passionate kiss. It's true, there are a series of gay relationships in the story‘«Űnot exactly surprising in a community made up entirely of one gender‘«Űbut Without Men is no more a "lesbian movie" than "Cast Away" is about equatorial ecology, or "The Perfect Storm" is about commercial fishing. It's an element; it's not a defining characteristic. But bad timing and the uncontrollable power of the internet made that thirty seconds of same-sex sex all that the movie was about for far too many people, and ultimately it may affect its ability to gain wider distribution or attention.
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