Argentinian Director Marco Berger, in his 2014 movie ‘Hawaii,’ teased his audience on a will-they or won’t-they angle, and in his new film ‘Taekwondo’ (which he co-directs with Martín Darina) he does the exact same thing. Germán (Gabriel Epstein) is invited by his friend Fernando (Lucas Papa) to an all-boys summer vacation in a resort town near Buenos Aires. He doesn’t know why he was invited – he senses that Fernando is into him, but he gets a lot of mixed signals, not just from him but from his posse in the house. He even asks, is he even gay? We find out that Germán is, via his phone conversation with a friend and we spend the rest of the movie testing our gaydar if Fernando is. All things seem to point that way, but are we really sure?
The ‘tease’ here can be frustrating and it is compounded by Farina’s penchance for closeups of the male genitalia, and when we are kind of certain things are going a certain way we get sidetracked. We also get to see how other cultures are more comfortable with their sexualities, as we see the whole group of men here always in various states of undress, and can you imagine an American movie – even a gay one – do that? I read of a study recently wherein straight men get more sexually flexible when they are drunk, and we sense that homoerotic tension here as a group of guys drink, shoot the breeze, and tell sexually sated stories with each other. As I said, this film will try your patience but it is thoughtful and there is a nice payoff in the end. Epstein and Papa are pretty to look at (everyone here is, actually) and the dialogue is nice and easy going – its languid pace makes you really feel like you are on this vacation with them. I don’t know if I would recommend it to everyone, but for the lovers of gay independent niche projects, this a big go.