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El Observador

The Last Match (La Partitda) tells the story of a blossoming secret and taboo love affair between two homosexual young men, Reiner and Yosvani in Havana, Cuba.Starting off as friends and soccer buddies, after a night of dancing at a nightclub, a drugged up Reiner plants a simple kiss on Yosvani, thus igniting some sparks of passion and new found homosexual curiosity inside of Yosvani.

Reiner works as a prostitute along the strip to support himself, his wife, baby, and mother. Yosvani works with his fiancee’s loanshark father and each day grows more discontent with his life.Although it was Reiner who started the love affair between himself and Yosvani, at one point he claims that homosexuality is just his way of making ends meet by setting specific boundaries for his clients claiming, “I’m not a fag.” 

Reiner also rejects Yosvani’s initial affections when they return for another night out at the nightclub. Eventually Reiner accepts Yosvani’s affections, and they continue their rendezvous by sneaking off to a roof top to express their passion.

Both characters use this relationship as means of escape. Yosvani is shy, quiet, and mild mannered. His lack of aggression is not a good fit for the lifestyle of the loanshark business. As his relationship with Reiner evolves, he becomes more outwardly discontent and uninterested with his life with his fiancee and her father.

Reiner’s relationship with Yosvani allows him to momentarily leave the harsh criticism at home from his mother.

The cruel reality of the film is that, although Yosvani and Reiner have found happiness within each other, they also have someone at home. Their significant others (Yosvani’s fiancee and Reiner’s wife) have nothing but love and admiration for them. Both women love them dutifully and it is disheartening to see their affections unreturned. Nor is there any explanation or moment of clarity for the men to come out and end their relationships with them.

The most beautiful aspect of the film is Yosvani’s transformation. In the beginning of the film, it was clear that he was uninterested in his life. His meek expressions and his lack of passion in most of his daily activities showcased his unhappiness. During his relationship with Reiner, he found his drive and motivation to make a better and happier life. Yosvani’s passion and love for Reiner drives him to make bold and dangerous choices. 

Yosvani’s passion, however, can not make Reiner stay. Reiner has an opportunity to play soccer at a higher level, which is an opportunity that most in his situation would dream of. He dismisses Yosvani’s ideas of starting a life together. 

Reiner’s character remained the same throughout the film. His selfish acts affect those around him. His spending habits and gambling would leave his family with little to eat.  His relationship with Yosvani was an escape, but once his opportunity to play soccer became a new escape for him, he no longer had the same passion for Yosvani, claiming he has “nothing to offer.”The love between the two characters was true to the indie film spirit by showcasing raw and passionate emotions when together. When together, the characters display a beautiful magnetism and relationship that does stem from genuine love for one another despite the all obstacles in their lives. 

The film is director Antonia Hem’s second directorial feature. The film is part of TLA Entertainment’s Canteen Outlaws, a film distribution company that focuses on international gay and lesbian filmmaking. Landmark Theatres will be showing the 94 min. English subtitled film starting Jan 24. at Landmark Open Plaza Cinemas 601 Van Ness, San Francisco, CA  415-771-0183.


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