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Homework Review

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Virginia is taking a film course and deciding to take up a new project she sets up a video camera to film herself having sex with a lover from four years ago, against his knowledge. The film is shot only through this hidden camera. But it doesn't prove as easy as she'd hoped.

★★★★★

After the success of sex lies and videotape in 1989, it is hardly surprising that another movie should appear sooner or later, dealing with sex, lies, and indeed, videotape. This, the second feature from Mexican director Hermosillo, deals with just that, beginning with a young woman, Virginia, (Rojo) setting up a videocamera discreetly underneath her living room table and waiting for the arrival of Marcelo (Alonso), a man she had an affair with four years previously.

When he arrives it is obvious Virginia is out to seduce him for the camera — of which he is blissfully unaware — using every ruse she can to make sure he stays in the living room, and Marcelo is a willing participant, putting up little resistance, with the only hitch in Virginia’s seduction being that neither of the pair have remembered to buy any condoms. And so the movie progresses and then unfortunately plummets, moving from an interesting look at role reversal and male vanity to a soft porn flick as Virginia finally gets her way.

The mystery lies in why this relatively reserved woman is intent on seducing a man on camera — the only indication being when she reveals she is taking a television workshop course and is working on her final project. The whole story is seen through the eyes of the video camera in one continuous scene, meaning that sometimes all you can see is two pairs of shoes accompanied by disembodied voices, a technique which works surprisingly well but is spoilt when Hermosillo abandons all attempts of a storyline in favour of 15 minutes of explicit bedroom gymnastics filmed by the motionless camera. Although slightly redeemed by a twist in the tale at the end, this should be filed under Lost Potential.

The whole of Homework is filmed in one long continuous take which was the longest achievement until 'Russian Ark' in 2002. It's a risky manoeuvre and here it doesn't really work to great effect. With highly erratic characters, it's difficult to relate to them but with a twist in its tail, the film remains distinctly average.

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