Dive In: Marco Berger and the Cinéma of Male Intimacy.

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The Cinéma of Male Intimacy as told by Marco Berger.

Marco Berger is probably one of my favourite filmmakers, he sits right alongside Wong kar-wai, Jane Campion, Sean Baker… Just to name a few. He’s an Argentine filmmaker, who focuses on queer films. If you’re not familiar with Berger’s filmography then I highly suggest that you hop onto it now, the starting points being The Blonde One, Hawaii and Plan B. Marco Berger’s films are at their core about male intimacy and desire, they’re highly homoerotic and sometimes they bring out the deep hidden sexual desire within the characters and maybe he’s making a statement about cinéma and how it views male intimacy and bodies I don’t know...

Berger paints the male body in such a tender and sensual way, and I absolutely love that, because in mainstream cinema we’re always being fed the action hero archetype. We rarely see male bodies being treated as soft, sensual, tender, and full of desire and complex sexual and emotional journeys. And when mainstream cinema does finally show us male bodies in such a way, it’s something treated as taboo, dark, and sinister, the lens and framing of queerness, sexual exploration and identity are rarely framed positively. Whereas Berger shows us how natural sexuality and desire is within humanity, and the purity of human connection and intimacy in general.

Berger’s films are also highly layered and aren’t just close ups of hot male bodies and longing looks. He layers his films with complex characters in simple everyday-ish situations, and he does deal with darker subject matters in relation to sexual exploration, and sexual identity. Films like “Absent” that sees Berger play around with thriller elements and has a story that is about the sexual tension between a student and teacher, however Berger flips the script and turns the student into the predator. An intense film that deals with regretful choices and relationships and highlights issues that many deal with but rarely speak about.

Marco Berger then decides to visit similar themes in his 2020 feature “Young Hunter”, here he shows us the predatory behaviour of older men, and how they manipulate young boys, teenagers essentially and turn them into “hunters”, these young men who are just exploring their sexuality are then turned into people who lure others into the predator’s den.

Marco Berger has also shown us that he’s capable of handling romance in the most tender and realistic ways with his magnum opus (for me) “The Blonde One”, it’s peak Marco Berger including the penis shots and high sexual tension. Berger’s films often focus on the bonds between men and the tender intimacy the arises between them and this film captures that.

He makes his characters go through sexual identity and sexual exploration journeys in a manner that is affectionate and complex. You can identify Marco Berger films by the high levels of homo-eroticism, the films also tend to shift from the relationships being about just sex to being more about and the complexities of emotional connection between these male characters. One can notice Berger’s films have a shift in them that sees characters move away from hetero-normative ideas about sexuality.

Marco Berger film reviews on Behold Cinéma:

Young Hunter (2020)

The Blonde One (2019)

Taekwondo (2016)

Plan B (2009)