VOD Review - 4 Moons (Cuatro Lunas)

Cesar Ramos (left) and Gustavo Egelhasf in one
of quadruple stories in '4 Moons (Cuatro Lunas)'
Writer-director Sergio Tovar Velarde from Mexico has crafted four short stories represented by four different phases of the moon. Each story is independent of the others with one exception, and instead of running each story separately one after the other like other anthology films, Velarde cuts back-and-forth between all four stories running all four in parallel fashion.

Of the four stories, the two that get the shortest shrift are the one dealing with the youngest character and the one dealing with the oldest character. The other two stories are about one college-age couple and another couple possibly in their late 20's or early 30's. These two couples get the most screen time and development. Yet, all four are enjoyable or at least compelling for one reason or another. Velarde treads on a lot of familiar ground, but he gets credit for pushing boundaries in some regard.

Luna nueva or "new moon" is about the youngest character, a schoolboy named Mauricio, played by Gabriel Santoyo. Through video game play, Mauricio reveals his sexual attraction to fellow prepubescent boy, Oliver, played by Sebastián Rivera. The boundaries Valerde pushes is his depiction of boys under the age of 13 engaging in a homosexual act, which the boys supposedly like. However, curiosity quickly turns to shame when Mauricio has to make a stunning public admission, which shocks his parents.

Cuarto menguante or "waning moon" is about the oldest character, a poet and professor named Joaquín Cobo, played by Alonso Echánove who is probably in his 60's or older, a hirsute and husky man who is married to a woman but he attends what might be a gay bathhouse. He meets a young, hunky hustler named Gilberto, played by Alejandro Belmonte. The extent of the relationship is Joaquín's desperation to have sex with Gilberto who is very beautiful and sexy, as well as a tough negotiator.

Luna llena or "full moon" is about two guys who are probably in their mid to late thirties. Andrés, played by Alejandro de la Madrid, and, Hugo, played by Antonio Velázquez, are a couple who have been together for 10 years. Hugo tells Andrés that he isn't attracted to Andrés when he's acting effeminate. Hugo is even discovered as having an affair with a more masculine guy named Sebastián, played by Hugo Catalán (Clandestinos and I Am Happiness on Earth). Both Andrés and Hugo deal with the fullness or strength of their feelings for someone who may not be the healthiest or best for them.

Cuarto creciente or "waxing moon" is about two young men, possibly college-age or slightly younger. Fito, played by Cesar Ramos (Trade and Inhale), lives with his mom whom he has not told that he's gay. He reunites with a childhood friend whom he hasn't seen in years named Leo, played by Gustavo Egelhaaf. They start dating, even though Leo is way more closeted. Their romance as depicted is the most adorable, and is the most luminary as its moon phase suggests. Testing that closeted status is the chief conflict here.

All four stories have elements that work extremely well, but none more than in Cuarto creciente. Fito and Leo have sex for the first time not only with each other but also for the first time with someone of the same sex. It's as awkward and painful, as it would be for two guys who have no clue what they're doing. Yet, for this story and all four, Velarde is able to circle back to a place of romance.

Five Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but contains full-frontal nudity and graphic sex.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 49 mins.
Available on Netflix Watch Instant.
Available through Breaking Glass Pictures on DVD.


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