Martin and Eugenio, two former childhood friends, reunite during a hot summer in the Argentinean countryside. As they work together to restore Eugenio۪s summer home, a game of power and desire ensues forcing the two buddies to grapple with their sexual attraction. Hawaii is an intimate character study that pushes past social boundaries
Read the 5 Star Review by Drew Odom:
Part of the exceptional beauty of Marco Berger’s Hawaii is its rhythm, the slow, deliberate, observant pace of its story. But that rhythm finds a counter rhythm in the frequent cuts from shot to shot. Some linger, some come and go quickly. Watching it, both in the experience of it at the moment and later in reflection, you become increasingly aware how much is being shown, how much you are witnessing. The film is remarkable, among many other reasons, for the acuity of its eye, not only how much it sees, but how much detail is brought forth to ponder and feel. Its clarity, in a profound sense, means something.
The setting evokes in its light something of a pastoral world. Only the two main characters really matter. It is like a world elsewhere, where the outside world need not intrude. What this isolation allows for is enormous concentration.
It is a two person film, with three other characters very briefly in it, only two of whom speak. What the movie unfolds is the complexity of two men’s falling in love. But that complexity includes more than who they are. It embraces the world in which they find themselves, the house, its pool, its lawns, trees, and flowers, the river near by. It means that their pasts, who they once were together, also must be relived and revived. As they work, together or separately, as they eat, as they talk, as they relax or compete or play, their feelings, their sensual responses to the world around them and to each other, are changing, intensifying.
When such emotions are being aroused, slowly, often quietly, unsurely, deeply, perhaps surprisingly, the whole world matters. It becomes more present. The “island” of a sort where they find themselves together becomes more and more part of who they are. That, I suppose, is one of the meanings of lyricism in film.
Each shot in the movie has its own beauty. Marco Berger is a film maker whose work is informed by a painterliness, not in the slightest bit arty or self-conscious, but clear, attentive, intense, where the whole composition enlightens the totality of its details.
Desire makes the whole world around you more keenly present. So it is in this film. The story of these two men’s becoming lovers involves all that surrounds them as well, especially memory which, more than in Berger’s earlier work, plays a vital part in this movie and, in one instance, gives it its title. Memory, among other values, is here restorative. It becomes, in many senses, the means to return, the way to spare love the failures of loss.
Sometimes, when a character is speaking, the movie goes silent. You do not hear him. Why that is so is as important as the dialogue you do hear. How silence and words interplay in the film is nowhere more astonishing than in the significance of the word ‘pineapple.’ Only a filmmaker of great sophistication and depth could have imagined this image and how it becomes so important to the movie, not only to its conclusion, but to the whole of it as you think back upon it or watch it again. Both in words and in gestures much of the film resonates with what is not being said, in glances, in glimpses, in looking away, in looking back.
The actors are as fine as the film in which they appear. This is a great work. That it is also a great act of gay film making is not incidental. I think this might be one of the finest films about two men’s falling in love ever made. But there is no need to categorize. It is a work of art that resists categorization. That is part of its brilliance as an astonishingly beautiful and perfectly crafted movie.
But it is also an unusually generous film, generous in its vision. Its two men behave decently, are good, and act to one another’s benefit as much as or even more than for their own. It is a film about gift-giving. One character almost loses what he longs for, hopes for because he doesn’t what to risk the other’s happiness or future to get it. The word ‘good’ can too easily collapse into moralism. But the moral vision in this movie, its spirit of generosity, is at once both serious and elating. This is an unusually fine movie, rare for its illuminations, its sensitivity to detail, its attention to the nuances of silence and gesture and to the richness of simple conversation, its sensual allure, and its ethical depth. I felt, after watching it, elated.Follow our Social Stuff: