On the surface a fairly average summer teen movie, "Krampack" gradually unveils a surprisingly daring theme, that of boys at the crossroads of defining their sexuality. The blandly shot story of two 16-year-old pals spending the summer together at the beach leaves one unprepared for several scenes of kissing and fondling between minors, which occur in a darkened room but nonetheless have powerful shock value.

On the surface a fairly average summer teen movie, “Krampack” gradually unveils a surprisingly daring theme, that of boys at the crossroads of defining their sexuality. The blandly shot story of two 16-year-old pals spending the summer together at the beach leaves one unprepared for several scenes of kissing and fondling between minors, which occur in a darkened room but nonetheless have powerful shock value. Directed at general auds, this second feature by helmer Cesc Gay (“Hotel Room”) won’t be to everyone’s taste and may scandalize some. Its respectful treatment of male sexuality, however, is impec-cably p.c., making it a good candidate for gay fests and audiences.

Wide-eyed Barcelona boy Nico (Jordi Vilches) comes to visit his best friend, Dani (Fernando Ramallo), at a Mediterra-nean beach town. Dani’s parents have conveniently left for Egypt, so the boys have the house, swimming pool and cook (Myriam Mezieres in a cameo) to themselves.

United in their desire to lose their virginity that summer, Dani and Nico have no qualms about watching each other per-form a “krampack,” their code word for jerking off. They soon progress to masturbating each other. In a shot that drew gasps from the Cannes audience, Dani goes even further in pleasuring his friend, but Nico, while not refusing his caresses, clearly feels uneasy about the way things are going.

On his initiative, they stock up on condoms and make dinner for two cute girls on vacation. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Dani isn’t attracted to young Berta (Esther Nubiola) in the slightest, though he goes through with a perfunctory seduction/rape after drugging her into unconsciousness.

Nico has much more ardent feelings for Elena (Marieta Orozco), exciting Dani’s jealousy. At this point, the boys have to face up to their different sexual orientations while trying to remain friends.

The dark, wide-eyed Vilches and blond, Nordic-looking Ramallo, both strong thesps, make a good pair and help keep the story from slipping into sleaziness. The film asks viewers to confront quite a lot of the implications of discovering you’re gay at 16.

Story, adapted from a stage play by Jordi Sanchez, has nothing claustrophobic about it, making full use of the outdoor summer ambiance of a Mediterranean resort town. It is lensed in the unimaginative style of TV movies and scored mostly with smooth jazz tracks.

Krampack

(SPAIN)

Production

(SPAIN) An Alta Films release (in Spain) of a Messidor Films production. (International sales: Sogepaq, Madrid.) Produced by Marta Esteban, Gerardo Herrero. Directed by Cesc Gay.

Crew

Screenplay, Gay, Tomas Aragay, based on the play by Jordi Sanchez. Camera (color), Andreu Rebes; editor, Frank Gutierrez; music, Riqui Sabates, Joan Diaz, Jordi Prats; production designer, Llorenc Miquel; sound (Dolby Digital), Joan Quills. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Critics Week), May 15, 2000. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Dani - Fernando Ramallo Nico - Jordi Vilches Elena - Marieta Orozco Berta - Esther Nubiola Julian - Chisco Amado Sonia - Ana Gracia Marianne - Myriam Mezieres
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