Aya Arcos, written and directed by Maximillian Moll, is a story of misplaced love, age gaps and incredibly boring tropes. The story of an older man falling for a promiscuous younger man, fighting hard against adversity and rallying for love. At least I think that’s what they are aiming for.
Edu (César Augusto), who is a successful author, falls in love with the twenty-one-year-old Fabio (Daniel Passi), a much younger man and a hustler. Their relationship is filled with issues; Fabio doesn’t use protection in his job or with Edu, he’s got a rather nasty housemate who is desperate to get between the two, and Edu seems to constantly be fighting with his feelings. Really, the whole relationship is a disaster. But it gets worse when Edu gets tested for HIV because he’s worried about Fabio’s care free attitude. When he finds out he is positive, he blames Fabio and spirals out of control even more.
Aya Arcos is full of overused themes and tropes, and seems to be trying to make something ‘different’ but failing by including all of the wrong things. Whether it be Edu having issues dating a younger man, the promiscuity of Fabio, or the dramatic female best friend, Aya Arcos is full of too many cringe-worthy moments and characters. While there are some genuinely sweet moments between the two leads, there are too many that leave a sour taste in your mouth like nothing has been thought through. The only remotely engaging part of Aya Arcos is Passi, who managed to steal your attention whenever he is on screen.
Aya Arcos is Moll’s first feature film, and let’s be realistic, it could have been a lot worse. But it’s not exactly a strong debut either. There are obvious issues with the story, but there are also obvious problems with camera shots and angles that are hard to avoid throughout the film. It often feels like they are trying to create a dramatic moment, but are using wide shots where you can see the actor’s hands moving and their bodies swaying. If it were just that little bit tighter, everything would be more personal and engaging. But lets not forget the audio, which sounds like it was recorded in a bathroom. Or the sound track, that often sounds like a scene out of Psycho.
Aya Arcos is confusing, boring, and essentially elementary. It felt like I was watching every bad film I’ve ever seen at once, with so many just unbelievably bad scripted moments accompanied by terrible production. Aya Arcos is Moll’s first attempt at a feature length, so it’s not exactly surprising that all the kinks weren’t straightened out in any stage of filming. It will be interesting to see if Moll can improve on Aya Arcos in the future.