When you translate "the longing" from English to German, then from German to Portuguese, and Portuguese back to English, Judge Brett Cullum says it roughly translates as "my long, boring sausage."
Romance…secrets…deception…it's a queer soap opera acted out by languid Germans!
The Longing is labeled as a part of TLA Releasing's "Guilty Pleasures Collection." That usually means we're crossing over into softcore pornography with a small amount of plot. Certainly the cast in this feature are eye candy enough to wish for some very revealing scenes, but the sex is brief and infrequent. The narrative tries to carve out a melodramatic, doomed romance in Brazil, and at the same time spoof Spanish soap operas (telenovelas) popular throughout South America. It's a completely multicultural experience as the dialogue plows through German, Portuguese, and English passages where subtitles will save anyone who doesn't comprehend all three languages. Sound overstuffed? The Longing juggles a hell of a lot of material, and concentrates on the wrong things to please the target audience.
Literally the Brazilian/German title for the film is Suadade-Sehnsucht which translates loosely as a sad feeling over happy memories. Three German friends head to Brazil for sun and fun as they recover from a failed attempt to start a techno band. They spend the days snorkeling, sunbathing, and performing make-out sessions for a fee on the webcam (nobody shows anything apart from chests in these sequences). The blonde, muscular friend Erik (Hendrik Scheider) becomes obsessed with the soap operas on the television. One night he has a beach-side make-out session (again with nothing shown) that ends tragically with the guy falling on his own knife. Soon after, he's wracked with guilt. He meets the star of his favorite television show (Aldri Anuncia), and they start a relationship. But wouldn't you know it? Turns out the soap star's brother is the one Erik accidentally killed.
Unfortunately the tawdry plot lines sound better and more entertaining than what ends up on the screen. In the right hands this material truly could be labeled a guilty pleasure, yet the project has many problems that prevent it from being the sexy, melodramatic romp it promises. The film was shot digitally on the fly, so the production values look way too cheap. The exotic locales are cinematic, but the presentation is too low tech to have the right impact. The German stars are too subdued to pull off a true telenovela flavor. They lack the passion a Latin actor might bring to the proceedings. There's hardly any sex, and when it is featured it seems as passionless as the line readings themselves. Think of porn actors using their own video crew to try and pull off a chaste, tasteful thriller, and you get the idea of the train wreck The Longing delivers. The biggest sin is the film bores the viewer in the worst way. At a brief eighty minutes, the film seems insufferably long.
TLA delivers their usual nice treatment of titles nobody else would touch. The nonanamorphic letterbox transfer is clean although murky in parts due to filming techniques. Included on the disc is a nice look at the making of the film with the actors showing more life than they do in the feature. It's a nice touch, and almost worth skipping the proper feature for since the boys look better in this light. You also get to see the locations without having to wade through the wretched plot. The actors spend tons of time talking about how badly "paradise" smells. Also it is in anamorphic widescreen which differs from the film. There is a text feature labeled a "Director's Statement." It discusses the intentions of the production which needs all the help it can get.
If you're searching for footage of prudish German boys languishing through Brazil, The Longing may fit your bill. Unfortunately the story doesn't hold up well, simply because it is too silly to take seriously and played heavy and slow. The guys fill out their bathing suits well, but you'll see more of them in the special features than in the movie. I'd reach for another title in "TLA's Guilty Pleasures" line if you're seeking sexy fun on DVD. This title will leave you with The Longing to rent something that delivers what it promises. There is not much melodrama or sexy scenes. The movie needs these elements to work, and without them it suffers.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: TLA Releasing
• Making of Featurette
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