Capital Celluloid 2020 — Day 65: Thu Mar 5

A Year Without Love (Berneri, 2005): Barbican Centre, 6.30pm

Journalist Ben Walters introduces this 35mm screening in the ‘Her Lens, His Story’ season at the Barbican Cinema.

Time Out review:
It’s not impossible that Pablo (Juan Minujín) knows Ho Po-Wing and Lai Yiu-Fai, the central couple from Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘Happy Together’: like that film, this is set in mid-’90s Buenos Aires, and is about an atomised gay man’s largely bootless pursuit of meaningful emotional connection. In between quarrelling with the aunt he lives with, struggling to get his writing published and visiting the hospital (he’s HIV positive), Pablo places personal ads, goes clubbing and visits porn cinemas. It’s not too surprising that, yearning to be acknowledged, given limits and taken care of, he is drawn to the leather and S&M scene; nor that it leaves his romantic desires unfulfilled, leading only to jealousy without love. Plainly, then, this is not feelgood fare, but ‘A Year Without Love’ makes no overt pleas for pity or anger. Reminiscent of Ron Peck’s ‘Nighthawks’ in its unsentimental realism, it tracks the passage of time through seasonal porn covers and subtly establishes its period through the two innovations that changed gay life a decade ago: the internet (the object of Pablo’s affections is and combination therapy. Indeed, for Pablo, the AZT cocktail turns out to be a better match than any of the men he meets: an inflexible master with his best interests at heart.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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