DVD Review - Longing Nights & Peyote

This November, Breaking Glass Pictures is releasing two Spanish-language movies. Both are quick, 70-minute features. The first is Tiago Leão's Longing Nights. The second is Omar Flores Sarabia's Peyote. Leão's movie is a panorama of four people living in Madrid, Spain, and their various lives after dark. Sarabia's movie focuses on two young men who embark on a trip to the desert in Mexico.

Longing Nights involves drugs, various sexual orientations and genders. Leão directs almost documentary-style, following his subjects, sneaking around corners and peeking on people. He doesn't dig too deep or dialogue much with them. Leão's movie is merely a glimpse into these people's lives. None of it feels incredibly fresh or new. The eroticism almost promised by the opening image of a man balled up sitting on a bed smoking a cigarette next to a fully naked man asleep is perhaps the movie's only saving grace.

Peyote is a slightly different beast, a much better beast, one that approaches the level and beauty of Alfonso Cuarón's Y Tu Mamá También, a fellow Mexican road trip film. Joe Diazzi plays Pablo, a teenage boy with a video camera who still handles and smashes toys like he's a five-year-old. Yet, he also shoots half-naked pictures of himself for girls on the Internet. Pablo meets Marco, played by Carlos Luque, an older guy, possibly college-age who has several face piercings and his own car. It doesn't take much for Marco to realize there is an attraction, a possible sexual one that he's going to pursue.

Whereas Longing Nights seems content to show sex between men, even one whom might be transgendered, Peyote is not. There is a suggestion that Pablo and Marco had intercourse, but it's never shown. On the face of it, it's two young boys backpacking looking for the plant bearing Mescaline. We even get the LSD-inspired, hallucination sequence, but bubbling underneath are issues of class and coming-of-age.

It becomes a sweet, sensitive and sexy trek through the dry and rocky emptiness and architecture of Mexico that gives us a slice of maturation for two, intimate, young men.

Longing Nights
Two Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 10 mins.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended 14 and Up.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 10 mins.


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