Broken Sky features a love story between two Mexican students, Gerardo (Miguel Ángel Hoppe) and Jonas (Fernando Arroyo), which is complicated by a third party whom Jonas encounters in a disco. The bereft Gerardo meets Sergio (Alejandro Rojo), who has been stalking him through the city, but the love he shares with Jonas proves stronger than any other entanglement.

To describe writer-director Julian Hernández’s film as slow would be to seriously understate the issue. This thing crawls over a torturous 140-minute running length, with teenage love given a dire gravitas which verges on the absurd. It’s thematically and stylistically similar to Hernández’s A Thousand Clouds of Peace, with the main protagonist of both named Gerardo. That previous film was only two hours long but felt like two years. Hernández’s actors do capture the kind of fraught neurosis which can subsume adolescent eros, but literally nothing else seems to be happening here. Some nice visuals help out a bit, but the whole work suffers from Wong Kar Wai Disease—i.e., atmosphere and mood substituting for substance.

Dialogue is kept to the barest minimum and, while the film is liberally sprinkled with fairly graphic sex scenes, none of them is particularly erotic or compelling because of the huge cinematic vacuum in which they occur. A ridiculously pretentious, sub-literary narration tells us what we and the characters are supposed to be feeling in lieu of the actors’ inexpressiveness. Hernández also proves himself an opera queen of the lowest order, when he injects Dvorak’s aria “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka into the soundtrack during a grimly lit sex-club sequence. Haven’t we seen this sort of banality all too often over the years, emanating from too many gay helmers who confuse woeful artiness with art?