Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Miguel Angel Hoppe
Director: Julián Hernández
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Two university students gerardo and jonas meet on campus and fall passionately in love. They enjoy a blissful romance until jonas becomes obsessed with another boy and drives gerard into the arms of sergio. The young men b... more »
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Sweet, beautiful story, but NOT for impatient viewers
Bob Lind | Phoenix, AZ United States | 01/25/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Broken Sky" (El Cielo Dividido)(Spanish, 2006) is a story of young love between college boys. Gerardo first meets Jonas at a sports field on campus, and they are soon back at Jonas' apartment (The student accommodations seem to be much more than a dorm) having passionate sex. While the relationship heats up quickly, it begins to cool off just as fast, with Jonas turning his face away when Geraldo wants to be affectionate when they are not in bed. When it becomes clear that Jonas is obsessed with Bruno, a boy he met at a disco, Sergio moves in on Geraldo, whom he had been watching during his time with Jonas. Of course, Jonas fling with the other boy doesn't last, and he is soon pining to get back with Geraldo.
There are mixed reviews on this film, for good reason. First and foremost, it is a beautifully photographed, almost lyrical story people can relate to, featuring a very attractive cast. But the filmmaker chose to make a film devoid of almost all dialogue (Most of the Spanish dialogue, subtitled in English, consists of song lyrics and a few voiceovers), supposedly because he wanted to convey the emotions between the actions and words in a relationship. In my opinion, this pushes the film over the line from "arty" to confusing as hell for the most part, since there are no dialogue references to clarify points that are unclear. I could have also done without the director's habit of spinning the camera from one scene to the next (as if all sets were in one room), the frequent "fade to light" (which unfortunately made the subtitles unreadable), and the way this relatively simple story was stretched to an attention-straining 140 minutes. Truly, this is only for the film buff with patience who can appreciate the "message" the filmmaker was trying for, rather than the average viewer who wants to be told a story.
IMDB lists this film as having scored a PG-13 rating, which must be wrong; the film includes full male nudity and explicit simulated sex acts. DVD is listed as unrated, has chapter stops and no real other special features. I give the film three stars out of five.
An Ode to Young Love
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 01/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride
An Ode to Young Love
"Broken Sky" (Strand Releasing) will melt the hardest of hearts. The viewer just sits back, relaxes and lets the film carry him away. It is an ode to young love and brings forth all of the excitement, the thrill, the confusion, the pain and the jealousy of the experience. There is little dialogue, almost no narrative but there are gorgeous photography and glorious music and while you may not understand every moment, it will grab your feelings and wrestle with them.
Dialog can be useless because once something has been said; it has indeed been said, What we see here is what happens between the lines and it is amazing how the moments of no speech say more than dialog could ever do.
"Broken Sky" is a work of art and director Julian Hernandez showed courage to take on a project with a story of love and desire between two gay teenagers.
Jonas (Miguel Angel Hoppe Canto) and Gerardo (Fernando Arroyo) are two school boys who are passionately and desperately in live. When they make love, you can feel the urgency and raw emotion that young couples have. They not only love and enjoy one another but they love and enjoy finding new ways to make show each other their love. Everything in their lives revolves around the moments when they are together.
But as strong as young love is, it fades with the passage of time and Jonas is the first of the two to feel a lack in their meetings and pushes Gerardo away and takes on a new lover--Sergio, a teen who has been following the two around school. When a stranger and Jonas meet on a dimly lit staircase, a ballet of passion begins. Sergio emits ecstasy and Jonas is a bit reserved, hoping to regain what he lost in Gerardo.
There were times that I felt I was spying on the art of lovemaking. When you see Jonas and Gerardo in their first coupling, you can feel the heat. As they love, their infatuation increases and then it begins to disintegrate as quickly as it blossomed. Hernandez captures beautifully a first romantic relationship--how it feels and how it locks out the world around it.
If there is a fault with the movie, it is that Hernandez gives us nondescript characters in an attempt to universalize the actions and this fails. Most of us have not had a love affair so deep and so full of passion at the tender young age of the onset of puberty. So like many first loves, the movie disappoints here.
Yet there are so many good points to the film, what difference does a little disappointment mean? It is an arty film and it is poetic. As it follows the rise and fall of young love, it grabs at us and we want to watch every nuance of the young lovers. It takes us t the highs and lows of love and it never loosens its grip. The dimly-lit cinematography, the beautiful camera angles, the fantastic musical score, and the heartache of the end of first love is all brought together in a marvel of a movie.
"Broken Sky" is about the human eye and its preoccupation with the gaze, adoration, jealousy, image obsession, memory and love. And this is done with few words. With a simple plot--two boys passionately in love, the lens of the camera seems to see into the soul of the youths. The looks, the stares, the long gazes say everything and words are unnecessary and unwanted. This is an intense film that deserves attention and as you watch you are treated to one of the most visually beautiful movies ever made. It is what you see that matters and the eye becomes the most sexual organ in the body. The film will arrest you visually and will slap you across the face as if to say, "Watch me". It is a masterpiece of "eye" photography and gives us knowledge as to why we stare, why we yearn, why we desire and why we love.
Watching "Broken Sky" is akin to watching a carefully choreographed ballet or opera because of the lack of dialog and like in ballet and opera, the emphasis on physical presence does not always mean that emotion cannot be conveyed. The love-making we see in the film is not just a physical act but an emotional one as well. The outside world is lost during the film and although I doubt that the movie will have a large audience, I am sure that those that see it will be pleased that they did.
Patience is required but rewarded!!
R. Quigley | St. Louis, MO | 02/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Broken Sky is an interesting film, to say the least. There is little to no dialogue and, while the movie's theme is discernable, there really is no plot as far as getting from A to B. The lighting and cinematography are very dark and will be looked at as amateurish, which I disagree with ("mood" anyone?).
The story is engaging enough: two young men meet, fall in love and eventually deal with what all young people deal with (is the grass greener on the other side?). The ending is ambiguous, many people will also hate that, and it's hard to tell where it actually fits with the story b/c of chronology (very similar to another one of my very favorite gay movies, Come Undone, which leaps back and forth between past, present and future).
The two leads are hugely responsible for helping to make this movie enjoyable and moving. Because there is little dialogue, they have to express whatever emotion you imagine the storyline dictates which is difficult because people will look at the film in completely different ways b/c of the lack of a set timeline. Miguel Angel Hoppe (Gerardo) has an angular poutiness and expresses beautifully the wide eyed wonder of love. Fernando Arroyo (Jonas) is sensual, dark and steely--a perfect foil for Gerardo.
It has some of the most open, erotic and honest lovemaking I've ever seen in a gay movie, which is a welcome change from the furtive glances that are somehow supposed to amount to love. You can actually see/feel the heat between the couple. There's also no angst about sexuality, they kiss openly and frequently, and no one is dying of AIDS or any other gay cliché you can think of. The film takes some getting used to (could have sliced 30-40 minutes off its length) but the emotional rawness and openness are what eventually pulled me in and kept me watching. To most American film audiences, Broken Sky will be a frustrating experience, but for me, this movie is right up there with Come Undone and is now one of my favorites.
A Song Without Words
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'El Cielo dividido' (BROKEN SKY) is a daring, experimental film from Mexican writer/director Julián Hernández and as such it is bound to polarize audiences. Some will fault the film for self-indulgence while others will praise the bravery of a film of this topic to come from a country not exactly known for its flexible social attitudes.
Julián Hernández focuses on the history of a first love and without using dialogue he tells his story simply with silent actors, minimal narrative comments which serve as program notes, music, and ravishingly beautiful photographic composition. Gerardo (Miguel Ángel Hoppe) opens the film, a solo youth wandering what appears to be the streets of Mexico City finally ending up in an open amphitheater where his eye glimpses another lone youth Jonas (Fernando Arroyo) sitting staring into space. Gerardo wanders over to him, sits beside him, gains the courage to touch his shoulder, Jonas responds glowingly - and love begins. Through the next scenes we find the couple making love both in bed and in unexpected public places including the stacks of the library of the school where they both are students -and where another pair of eyes enters: Sergio (Alejandro Rojo) watches longingly as Gerardo and Jonas kiss and display an aura of passion Sergio obviously longs for.
The new couple share many experiences, all bathed in love, until they eventually go to a disco: Jonas dances with an enchanted Bruno (Ignacio Pereda) and a trace of chemistry is generated, a fact that Gerardo, watching the boys dance, senses and is disturbed. A crack is created in their bliss and that crack only widens as they each have mixed responses to what they perceive is escaping. Gerardo encounters the winsome Sergio and the two bond physically, a fact that forces Jason to reevaluate his initial feelings for Gerardo.
All of this story is told without dialogue of words but with a very strong dialogue of eyes. Director Hernández seems to want to share how love is an internalized emotion, only demonstrated with physical intimacy, but fragile as a newborn in its vulnerability to wounds. Cinematographer Alejandro Cantú finds stunning settings and lighting and sensitive explorations of love making that never exceed tasteful states. His manner of showing time elapsing is to pan walls within a room that serve as flashbacks and flash-forwards as a means of carrying the story forward. Film editor Emiliano Arenales Osorio uses some very creative techniques to keep the viewer guessing as to whether we are observing fact, fantasy, present or past. And the musical score by Arturo Villela deftly maintains the minimalist stance with simple phrases by cello, harpsichord, and violin, saving the passion expression for the use of Dvorák in Rusalka's 'Song to the Moon' as ravishingly sung by Renée Fleming
All of those praises being said, the major reason this film doesn't retain an audience base is its length: it is 140 minutes long, repetitive, and would have been much more powerful had it been cut to 90 minutes at best. It is far too visually stunning a piece of work to step beyond the patience of an audience happy to see the birth and blossoming and challenges of a first love between two beautiful young men. The actors are indeed a pleasure to watch, but in this case less is more. One wonders what Julián Hernández will create next. He deserves applause for this experimental film but hopefully will learn from its tendency toward self-indulgence. Grady Harp, January 07