Leap Year (2011)
Laura is 25 years old. She's a journalist, she's single and lives in a small apartment in Mexico City. After a series of short-lived affairs, Laura meets Arturo. After the first time they make love, she is left deeply unsettled. They embark on an intense and passionate sexual relationship, in which pleasure, pain and love merge. As days go by which Laura conscientiously crosses out in a calendar, her secret past resurfaces, pushing Arturo to the limit. -- (C) Strand
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Critic Reviews for Leap Year
With nothing to offset the persistent minimalism, we're left with a film that does too much of what it's doing and not enough of anything else.
Nothing about Leap Year plays out exactly like you expect, and Rowe prefers to send you home with enigmatic questions instead of clear-cut answers.
"Leap Year" might be too much for some audiences, but it is a potent and surprising work.
... A satisfying psychosexual drama, even-handed in its criticism of both bucolic and metropolitan society.
Del Carmen's sort of the shadow version of Anna Magnani. Emotionally frail, slumbering, and nearly inarticulate, yet hungry, seething, and Earth-Motherish. A powerful performance in one of the most explicit and shocking films of the past several years.
It's a gripping, mysterious use of no-budget cinema at its finest, and an intimate character study with surprising emotional power.
To Rowe's credit, this isn't just a movie about sex. It's a compassionate study of human loneliness.
It's not because of the amount of sex and nudity that the word "daring" comes to mind in describing Mónica del Carmen's performance, a combination of subtle vulnerability and abandonment.
Shocks only with its candor and complete lack of dramatic manipulation.
Leap Year lets actions speak louder than words, and the actions here are shockingly explicit.
Like peanut butter and chocolate or Catholicism and guilt, few things go together better than sex and violence...
There are trifling signs of freshmanship, but also a steady observant eye, and in the end Leap Year bears heartbreaking witness to hopeless depression, isolation, and the failure of sex as few movies ever have.
Something wicked this way comes in Michael Rowe's Leap Year, a character study of outstanding subtlety and fierce aesthetic exactitude.
From Mexico, this bold and yet subtle film is so bracingly realistic that at times we begin worrying about the central actress.
It's an intense, powerful and at times deeply painful movie, a serious exercise in sexual politics, and Mónica del Carmen as Laura gives an outstanding, brave performance.
It shows what you can do when emotional understanding and storytelling craft become the ruling factors in a project, filtered through performers who can truly do the material justice.
Audience Reviews for Leap Year
A deeply disturbing film, of a woman who allows an abusive man to brutalize her for reasons that only become clear to the viewer as the story unfolds. Laura (Monica del Carmen) works as a freelance journalist. Although not blessed with a svelte body or wildly beautiful good looks, she does alright in getting men to come back to her apartment. One of those trysts, with Arturo (Gustavo Sanchez Parro), becomes a twisted, macabre dance. Laura is a woman who carries a lot of pain, and the reasons for her self-degradation are not readily apparent. One only knows it is somehow tied to Leap Day, which she has marked on her calendar. This is not an easy film that could be called light entertainment. It is dark, and delves into some truly disturbing images that one is reluctant at times to watch. It asks the viewer to plumb the depths of one's soul to try to understand the motives at play. The film is relentless in drawing one into the twisted world these two inhabit. What little bit of hope to be found in this comes at the very end, if one can stay with it.More
A stark, haunting character study about a young provencal women named Laura, played by Monica del Carmen in a beautiful observed performance, she is tragically believable and surely delivers one of the finest female turns of this year. This disturbing drama explores loneliness and consensual sexual violence, Laura has moved far away from her family for the excitement of life in Mexico City, but in reality she is desperately lonely and alienated with her life, she tells lies to her mother and family over the phone of non-existent friendships, she spends all day in her small empty apartment crossing off dates on her calender, and at night she masturbates while sneaking a look at a young couple in the opposite apartment, she is jealous and envies of their passion for each other, later in the evening she goes out to picks up a variety of low-life strangers at bars to bring home and have casual sex with, so she won't have to sleep alone, her longing for love and self worth are not helped by the strangers she picks up, but her crippling isolation and emptiness is about to end, when she meets an ideal companion named Artuo, played solidly by Gustavo Sanchez Parra who has a penchant for sexual sadism that meshes with Laura's masochistic misery. They embark on a deeply intense sexual relationship, the sex turns into extreme sexual violence, and the acts become more humiliating and brutal, Laura throws herself completely into it, and pushes her capacity for pain, it seems that she has a hidden agenda, she is using Arturo for a darker purpose. A impressive and confident debut from writer/director Michael Rowe that won this year's Camera d 'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. ( In Spanish with subtitles) Note: this is a very tough movie to watch, and it is very sexually explict, so if that make you feel uncomfortable you should avoid it. Recommened.More
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