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A Year Without Love Review

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Juan Minujín balances living with AIDS with a passion for S&M. Increasingly frustrated by relationships with his relatives, he pours out his thoughts into a diary.

★★★★★

Set in Buenos Aires in 1996 and produced by the team behind Lost Embrace, this adaptation of Pablo Pérez’s autobiographical novel is not for the faint-hearted. But by alternating between alienating long shots and brutally intimate close-ups, director Anahi Berneri fetishises bondage gear and medical paraphenalia alike, as she tellingly contrasts HIV+ writer Juan Minujín’s growing dependence on a cocktail of pills and the S&M sessions that eroticise his pain. But she is equally dispassionate in her depiction of Minujín’s relationships with his aunt and father, and the writing binges in which he pours his bitterness into the diary that will finally see him lionised by his peers and ostracised by his family. Abrasive but affecting.

This certainly isn't a film for everyone, but those willing to spend time in Juan's world will find something altogether worthwhile.