Sergio Tovar Velarde brings together four mostly unconnected stories about love, lust and sexual identity in new movie Four Moons. Acting as both writer and director (this is his feature film debut), Velarde looks at four different stories featuring male characters of varying ages at different stages of coming to terms with their sexuality. Hugo (Antonio Velazquez) and Andres (Alejandro de la Madrid) have been together for a decade when one of them embarks on an affair; childhood friends Fito (Cesar Ramos) and Leo (Gustavo Egelhaff) reunite and soon fall into a secret sexual relationship; Joaquin (Alonso Echanove) is married to a woman but longs to have sex with prostitute Gilberto (Alejandro Belmonte) who hangs about in his local sauna; and young boy Mauricio (Gabriel Santoyo) harbours feelings for his older cousin Oliver (Sebastian Rivera).
All four stories run concurrently throughout the film and despite the lack of connection between them in terms of characters from one story interacting with those in others, Four Moons is impressively tight and engaging. Each of the stories is intriguing with the men involved at very different stages of life with different needs and desires. For Joaquin it’s all about living out a fantasy that he’s longed to fulfil no matter the cost whereas for Mauricio he’s just starting to become aware of his body and his sexual identity.
The story of Hugo and Andres is on that I’m sure many couples can relate to. Hugo is interested in having sex with other people often turning down the advances of his long-time partner Andres, whereas Andres believes they can recapture the magic their relationship had. He’s even willing to turn a blind eye to Hugo’s infidelity with the hope that their relationship will repair itself given time. It’s a naïve view to take but Andres is painted as a desperate man willing to do whatever it takes to keep Hugo in his life, and his bed.
For me, the most interesting story is that of Fito and Leo. The two former childhood friends bump into each other by chance and quickly rebuild the friendship they had years earlier. This leads to the two sharing a bed together after a night out and soon they begin exploring much more than their newfound friendship. Neither men has come out to their friends and family, and both have to deal with the years of repression they’ve experienced to find happiness with one another. One half of the couple gets there quicker than the other, causing problems and placing their future together in doubt.
Velarde has crafted a rich world of characters for Four Moons and assembled an impressive bunch of actors. There is no weak link in the cast and every actor perfectly embodies their character. Gustavo Egelhaff is a standout as the troubled Leo who is terrified that his friends will find out he’s gay. Anyone who has had difficulty accepting their sexuality will be able to relate to his nuanced performance and he’s truly impressive. The young Gabriel Santoyo is equally strong as Mauricio, dealing with difficult subject matter in a very mature and believable way. He throws himself into the role and shines brightly as a result.
Four Moons is without a doubt one of the best pieces of gay cinema I’ve seen in a long time. Velarde has created an intricately layered world full of believable characters and relatable scenarios. Sexual identity can be difficult at any age and Four Moons captures the struggles and hurdles all gay men face over the course of their lives. With a stellar cast and superb direction, Four Moons should be high up on your must-see list.
Cast: Antonio Velázquez, Alejandro de la Madrid, Cesar Ramos, Gustavo Egelhaaf Director: Sergio Tovar Velarde Writer: Sergio Tovar Velarde Released By: TLA Releasing Certificate: 15 Duration: 110 mins Release Date: 25th April 2016