Back to IndieWire

Año Bisiesto

Laura is a 25-year-old journalist who lives an isolated life in a small flat in Mexico City. The banality of her daily life stands in stark contrast to her nightly pursuit of sex and love. Finally, Laura meets the brooding, would-be actor Arturo. After the first time they make love, Arturo ignites feelings in Laura that leave her deeply troubled. They embark on an increasingly dangerous sadomasochistic relationship in which pleasure, pain and love merge. Their physical relationship seems headed for a very dark place as her secret past resurfaces, pushing Arturo to the limit.

Leap Year (Año Bisiesto)

Winner of the Camera d’Or award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Michael Rowe’s impressive feature debut “Leap Year” is boundary-pushing and sexually extreme, yet minimalist in scope. Set in only one room, with only three speaking parts, the film chronicles 29 days in the life of a young, dispirited Mexican woman who waits in her apartment while a string of male visitors come and go.

Twenty-five year old Laura Lopez (Mónica Del Carmen) leads a lonely existence. Living alone in her small flat, her sedentary life is established with long, drawn-out takes as she lays about, masturbates and eats cheap food straight from the tin. The only information we learn about her is gleaned from telephone calls; we discover that she is a business journalist who moved to Mexico City from rural Oaxaca. We also learn that she is a prolific liar. Talking to her mother, she describes a sumptuous feast she claims to be enjoying, when she’s really inhaling her usual cheap fare. She also tells her family about all her wonderful close friends while we can plainly see that the only contact Laura has with the outside world is a string of recreational lovers that she picks up for one-night stands a few times a week. Although Laura seems to have no goal in life, there is an ominous calendar on the wall with a date – February 29th – circled in red. The film becomes a countdown to this mysterious date.

Eventually, she is greeted by one of her many male visitors, Arturo (Gustavo Sanchez Parra). What initially begins as a few slaps during sex soon turns to more violent acts of whipping, asphyxiation, urination and cutting. But far from being upset, Laura encourages him to go further and further down this sado-masochistic path.

Far from eroticizing this behavior, Rowe depicts this perversion plainly without any romanticization. Laura’s life is shown as the desperate acts of a lonely and disturbed woman whose desire for mutilation escalates as February 29th looms closer.

A risqué sexual thriller, “Leap Year” is as indelibly intriguing as it is disturbing. [Synopsis courtesy of Diana Sanchez, Toronto International Film Festival]

The Searches

Revenge, redemption and chance are the topics that underpin José Luis Valle’s new film. A man runs his errands: cleans the house, picks up the dry cleaning, pays his debts and buys groceries. Then, inexplicably commits suicide. His death smites his wife, Elvira, who is unaware of the reasons for suicide. At another point, Ulises is assaulted and stripped of the portfolio that held the only photo he kept of her deceased daughter. He sets out to find the thief and kill him. The lives of Elvira and Ulises intersect unexpectedly.

Perpetual Sadness

It is laid out as a realistic film, with a screenplay based on the stories of hundreds of women that are forced to choose between their children and their mate in order to sustain their families. This is the story of Cheba and Serafina who, by abandoning their children get sick with tirisia, a perpetual sadness.


In the near future, medicine, computing and genetics have made it possible to end the human physical and psychological pain, filtering it through other human beings created expressly for this task, known as “gatekeepers”. The plot follows the story of two researchers who belong to the Police Special Branch dedicated to pursue the emerging crimes related to the implementation of this new technology.