BFI Flare ‘Sublime’ Review: Young Love and Music

Manuel is a young man experiencing adolescence in a small coastal town in Argentina. Most of his time is spent writing music and performing in a band as a bass player. His world becomes increasingly complicated as he develops a deepening crush on the lead of the group, his best friend Felipe. Unable to contain his emotions or confide in those closest to him, his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, threatening to destroy the bands hopes of success.

Writer-Director Mariano Biasin portrays youthful lust and longing with a tender and sympathetic gaze. The idyllic beauty of the town is little comfort to the torn boy who is only capable of occasional communication with people around him. His father is supportive but seems to intuitively understand that Manuel must face these struggles alone. Attempts to bond with his peers tend to fall flat as they struggle with their own heartaches and self-doubts.

Far more liberating is his relationship with music. Through song-writing he is able to achieve the intimacy he desires with Felipe, and when the band succeeds or he experiences the euphoria of true collaboration he is liberated by the achievement. This is then matched and threatened by the frustration of collaboration and in particular the presence of outsiders. The sense of bonding between the friends, and particularly Manuel and Felipe is palpable during the musical sequences.

The sense of unrequited love and the power of genuine friendship plays out with a gorgeous sense of nostalgia. The overwhelming feeling of young love is explored through sumptuous cinematography and absorbingly simply fantasy sequences. Biasin has delivered a powerful feature that bespeaks the giddy anxiety of adolescent passion and angst.

Four Stars

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