Writer and director Marco Berger gives us The Blond One – Un rubio (sometimes referred to as The Blonde One).
Set in Buenos Aires, the story is about Gabriel (Gastón Re) and Juan (Alfonso Barón). Juan has a spare room in his apartment, and invites his co-worker, Gabriel, to move in.
Both men are reserved, and communicate little, but as the story unfolds it’s clear that the sexual tension between them is steadily building, until finally one of them makes the first move and then they have to navigate what comes next.
It’s a poignant and beautifully told story. Very little is said between the two men, Berger’s restraint and economical storytelling lets us feel their yearning and also the pressure they’re under to repress their emotions and conform to the machismo and cultural expectations of the world around them.
We caught up with Marco Berger for a behind-the-scenes look at the film.
What was your inspiration for this story?
When we finished Taekwondo, I became very close friends with Gastón Re and others actors from the film – we’d go out and also travel together.
This led me to start thinking of a project where he could play a role that was completely different from what he is usually cast as. The challenge was to focus on a specific actor and create a character that was the opposite of who he is.
After creating this character, I wrote the story. Elements of the story are drawn from relationships that I’ve had.
What was the production process?
I wrote the film in a month. It was quite easy because I had it all in my head.
At the beginning of the process it was a different story, but it developed and changed as I was writing it.
The production process wasn’t difficult. It’s an independent film, so we would get together in cafes or our homes to talk and plan out the film.
We shot everything in ten days.
What was the casting process?
We thought a lot about the other character – the actor who would play Juan – and how they would match with Gastón.
We looked through agents’ pages, and social media, and eventually found Alfonso Barón who I felt was perfect for the role. I wrote to him and he accepted.
What does this story show us about the impact of macho culture and expectations on men in Argentina?
Everything. Even though Argentina is more liberal – in terms of queer issues – than other parts of Latin America, the film shows that it’s still difficult in some areas and social groups.
What do you hope that people feel when watching Un Rubio?
As always, I try to get people to realise that the world is more than just your own cosmos, and to understand that there’s still thousands of fights that need to be fought in order for us to have a more equal world.