There’s a scene in Matías Bize’s live-action Calvin Klein advert In Bed during which Bruno (Gonzalo Valenzuela) lays out for Daniela (Blanca Lewis) his aesthetic theory of film, dividing his favorite movies into three categories. I no longer remember the rationale he uses to separate Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia from Pedro Almodóvar’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, but I do remember the Spanish title he uses for Naked Gun: ¿Donde esta la policía? (Where Are the Police?), instead of the more sensible La Pistola Desnuda. This is only one way American films arrive abroad a little lost in translation. More perplexing than a screwy title change, the entirety of In Bed suggests a mashup of Before Sunrise and Tape run through Altavista’s unreliable Babel Fish Translation service—you can’t shake the feeling that there’s something not quite right about how it looks and sounds. Except for the two or three scenes that take place In the Bathroom, the film mostly pans out on a motel bed. Bruno and Daniela land there after a party we only hear about during one of the conversations they have after one of their sex sessions. Like Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs, In Bed is a great porn but a piss-poor drama. The sex here is diced not with musical performances but with painstakingly-scripted chitter chatter (topics include: vintage cartoons, Reiki massages, and movie pitches) that similarly works to schematize a movie that aims for some level of naturalism. By the time of the film’s condom-breaking scene, you’re meant to want the couple to graduate beyond their potentially one-night stand—instead, you marvel at how quickly screenwriter Julio Rojas runs out of words for his characters. When Bruno describes in expert detail how his millions of sperm might be swimming inside Daniela, you half expect him to start talking about how X and Y chromosomes determine the sex of a baby. We’re also ostensibly meant not to notice how the film is running on empty because all of sudden the frame slips into split-screen, at which point Bize’s possible Chelsea Girls shout-out simply calls attention to the director’s scarcely flesh-clinging use of cinematic language. You may ask, “¿Donde esta Andy Warhol?”
- Bazuca Films
- 85 min
- Matías Bize
- Julio Rojas
- Blanca Lewin, Gonzalo Valenzuela
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