ⓘ Ausente (film)

Ausente (film)

ⓘ Ausente (film)

Ausente is a 2011 Spanish-language drama film directed by Argentine director Marco Berger. The film tackles the notion of sexual abuse of students, but director Marco Berger flips the dynamic. In this film, a young man wants to lure his teacher into a sexual relationship, rather than the other way round.


1. Synopsis

The story is told by Sebastian Carlos Echevarria, the sports coach who becomes the object of a students affection. Martin Javier De Pietro is a 16-year-old young student who is attracted to his coach, Sebastian. Sebastian tries to keep Martin at a distance, but at the same time tries to be kind and nurturing. Martin goes to great lengths in his attempt to get close to his teacher. When Martin hurts his eye during his swimming class, Sebastian initially takes him to the hospital. After treatment, Sebastian offers Martin a ride home. However, Martin was supposed to spend the night at a friends house, so no one is expecting him to come home that night. Martin spends the night at the Sebastians house. Things come to a head when Sebastian realizes that he was being lied to and punches Martin in the face. He is not angry from disgust for being the object of Martins desire, rather because Martins dishonesty could potentially cost the coach his job. Offended, Martin taunts Sebastian, telling him to call the police and suggesting it would cause greater problems for Sebastian. Later, Martin accidentally falls off a roof after retrieving a neighbors soccer ball, and Sebastian finds himself filled with remorse.


2. Style

The director is vague on certain plot points. In the last images, for example, there is a shot of Sebastian gently kissing Martin on the lips. It is not clear whether this actually happened or only occurred in Sebastians imagination. It is also unclear whether Martin accidentally fell to his death, or whether it was suicide, driven by Sebastians rejection. The viewer is kept contemplating if a romantic relationship had occurred, and if it did, if it is immoral in itself regardless of consent.


3. Reception

When the film won the "Teddy Award for Best Feature" by the Teddy Award Independent Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale, the judging committee praised it as a film with "an original screenplay, an innovative aesthetic and a sophisticated approach, which creates dynamism. A unique combination of homoerotic desire, suspense and dramatic tension."

During the Berlinale, The Hollywood Reporter published a review stating: "Despite its original twist on the tired pedophilia topic, Absent skirts the fringes of dull and would be commercially dismissable, were it not for the edgy mixing job and hyped-up soundtrack that together create a sense of artificial excitement. The small cast is well-chosen and de Pietro, in his first film role, is a real discovery who opens up his character of Martin in ever surprising ways."


4. Awards and nominations

  • 2011: The film won the Teddy Awards for "Best feature film" at the Berlin International Film Festival
  • 2011: The actor Javier De Pietro was nominated for "Best New Actor" for his role Martin in the film during the Argentine Academy of Cinematography Arts and Sciences Awards