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Men of Hard Skin

Country: Argentina, Language: Spanish, 96 mins

Original Title

Hombres de piel dura
  • Director: José Celestino Campusano
  • Writer: José Celestino Campusano
  • Producer: José Celestino Campusano

CGiii Comment

This is what [usually] happens when you direct, write and produce. When you do too much, you fail to see what is actually going on!

First...the writing. Second...the acting. Both go hand-in-hand, if one is bad, the other follows suit. This is a [sad] case of chicken and egg...not quite sure what is worse, the writing or the acting.

Riddled with clichés...for example, the father takes his [gay] son [Ariel] to a prostitute to 'cure' him...how tired is that one! There's a lipstick scene for no other reason than to say...all gay boys put on make-up...more nonsense. In the middle of nowhere, there's a derelict building that has become the local cruising ground...populated by [practically] every man in the vicinity...those poor women, all their husbands are bonking each other.

And, of course, there's a child abusing priest [two in fact]...and this is where José Celestino Campusano goes so off-the-rails, you can literally hear the train-wreck occurring. He tries to invoke sympathy for a priestly paedophile...what!?!

Okay, okay...it's a bold move...definitely controversial in that the general consensus does not/will not/cannot recognise paedophilia as a [treatable] psychiatric condition...can't blame them...when a child's safety is at risk. Just remember...these 'priests' can be and [usually] are absolved, then moved on into fresher pastures...their victims are stuck with the torment and torture they suffered. Men of god...indeed!

Unfortunately, Señor Campusano has neither the arsenal nor the words to fully thrash out this controversy...if he had, this would have been one hell of a shocker! And...the controversy doesn't stop there...there's Ariel, not the most pleasant of young men, sexually ravenous and considers [his] consent to be his inalienable right. So...the big issue concerning consent, it differs from country to country, is addressed, but not thoroughly explored.

Big issues indeed...given short shrift. On a more positive note: The cinematography is exceptional.


Trailer...

Hombres de piel dura (Men of hard skin) - TRAILER from Compañía de Cine on Vimeo.

The(ir) Blurb...

Teenager Ariel lives a seemingly quiet life with his father and sister on their picturesque farm in a rural part of Buenos Aires. However, unbeknownst to his family, Ariel has been abused for years by Omar, his neighbourhood priest. Having confused his mistreatment for romantic affection, Ariel takes it upon himself to free himself from their relationship and soon embarks on a secret affair with one of the male workers on his father's property. Meanwhile, as Omar continues to succumb to his urges, he forms a friendship with a much older priest who finds himself wrestling with similar desires. Defiantly unsentimental in its approach, José Celestino Campusano's richly textured exploration of sex, power and ecclesiastical abuse in Argentine society is a complex and often confrontational piece of work, posing many tough questions without resorting to easy answers.

Cast & Characters

Wall Javier as Ariel
Germán Tarantino as Omar
Claudio Medina as Pablo
Juan Salmieri as Julio
Camila Diez as Betina
Sergio Sarria as Ramírez
Malena Majul Lieun as Zulma
Mauro Altschuler as Walter
Pedro Meza as Cura Mayor
David Maldonado as Joven 1
Joel Maluenda as Joven 2
Reyna Vivas as Compañera de Ariel
Estefanía D'Anna as Dora
María Laura Álvarez as Madre de Zulma

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