I don't know if you will ever see this reply, as it is quite awhile after your post. However, I just saw the movie a couple nights ago. I was struck with the same response when reading ricrisci's comment. Maybe I too missed something, but my take on it was that the information given in the movie was not such that you could logically jump to those conclusions. It would be interesting to hear how he arrived at those beliefs. This would be a good example for the Philosophy 101 lecture on "belief" vs. "knowledge," where we learn that beliefs are based on subjective truth, and knowledge, or to "know" something, is based on objective verification. The "kiss on the cheek" comment would cause some to believe that some homophobia is at play here. It's pretty common knowledge that many cultures practice this greeting or show of affection, and, I for one, think this is a beautiful way to say hello or goodbye to a friend (and,no, I'm not a homosexual too). To ricrisci's credit though, I will say that his comment on the "abnormal vs. normal family" was an astute and enlightening observation (although the concept of the "normal family" is kind of a fantasy).
One thing that struck me about the movie was the way the case was handled upon knowledge of the boy's physical abuse. As one trained in Social Work, one of the things you learn now is that you are required by law to report cases of abuse as a social worker, as are members of many other professions - at least in America. One thing is for sure. That man deserved some punishment, and, as did "Pellet," needed treatment. I guess, at the end we see that maybe that happenned, or at least Pablo looked to be getting some kind of counseling. I am glad that we didn't see the guy getting the tar beat out of him like we do in many movies (although I must admit I would have enjoyed seeing it, I guess). This just reinforces the idea, as does beating the child, that "might is right," and he who is the strongest and the most violent, is who wins. "He who has the biggest stick wins" leads us down the road to 12-year-olds with .25 automatics in their pockets. Unfortunately, here in America, we are a long way away from changing some of these cycles of behavior, and we, in fact, have probably gotten worse. It is a complicated problem. For example, I think we can blame some of the right-wing "family values" and religious groups (along with the spineless breed of politician that has evolved as the norm) for a failure to allow change. But then, on the other hand, we might also say that a break down in the family and in religious values, has been a cause of the matter. A strong and loving family, or extended family, has been found to be one of the biggest positive influences on how we will turn out, and although I have no way of knowing if there is a God or not, or whose God is the "real" one, I do believe religion has been valuable for giving people a system of moral values and beliefs to help guide our lives, and a place to discuss them (er, well . . or maybe to "get preached" them).
One could say that an important criterion for determining a film to be meaningful is that it stimulates us to think about and to discuss topics important to our lives or our society. I think that this film does a pretty good job of accomplishing that, or at least for me it did. I wouldn't call this a monumental piece though, but, all in all, a pretty decent flick.
Thank you guys for bringing this up. Again, the last post to this topic was several months ago, so you probably wouldn't read this again. But I too was truly baffled by the reviews on here that stated Alfredo's parents to be gay? I didn't even pick up on that?
In fact, I thought they were a believable hip couple who truly loved each other and shared many things in common (like the tatoos, etc). Where on Earth did anyone get the idea/suggestion that these two people were gay? Is it mentioned in a version of this movie that is not available in the US?
I saw no indication that the father/mother showed affection for other men/women. Nor did I even pick up any "gay relation" to the AIDS storyline. I have extremely good gaydar and I thought the father (Jose) was very attractive, but alas, I didn't for a second think that his character was gay.
Maybe I blinked/sneezed (I doubt it) during the dialogue where either parent talks about their sexuality? I just don't get where these reviewers picked up on this?
I too, as an American viewer was a bit confused. I recognized that Alfredo kissing Birras was probably 'a European thing.' I didn't read anything into that, but Birras made some comment about 'missing your Dad, tell him to call me' or something. I wonder if Jose is just a bohemian, and as a tatoo artist associates more with a gay metropolitan crowd, or if that is just an americanization.
When I saw the four adults on a day trip to the mountains, I did immediately wonder, which were the two 'couples.' I think certain ambiguities were introduced but i also felt that they were not central or essential to the main plot. I do have the feeling that something was 'lost in translation.'
Overall, I loved the film, very well done and superbly acted.
I too didn't hear about the gay issue until I read this thread, but I completely accept it now that I think about it. First off, let me state that I too love this film. It is strongly cast and shot, and the poetic feel you get when you watch it (great score) only emphasizes that the director is a skilled artist, knowing what he's doing with a difficult subject as the one at hand. On the same note. In Europe, as opposed to America, being gay is far from an "issue". I don't know where you, rabbit, are from in America, but some places - quite strongly - disapprove of gay marriage, still in 2005. I find this amazing alongside scary. This is not a comment on you personally, not at all, but an attempt to explain that this director might very well have chosen Alberto's parents to be gay just because a lot of people are. This is something we haven't seen since R.W. Fassbinder. A movie about a subject (domestic violence) and some of the characters in the movie just happen to be gay. Nothing to do with anything, but liberatingly chosen because this is a real portrait of real life. If that is indeed the case, I absolutely love it.
- Y'know who we got here?
*beep* Charlie Bronson!!