Michael Rowe’s debut feature film, Leap Year, delivers an emotional and graphic examination of loneliness through the listless life of journalist Laura (Mónica Del Carmen). The film follows Laura for 29 days moving towards an enigmatic date marked in red on the calendar.
Del Carmen portrays Laura with moving subtly, eliciting a strong empathy for the character. Struggling with past psychological traumas she moves through a series of meaningless sexual encounters, until meeting Arturo (Gustavo Sánchez Parra). The two develop a perverse and unsettling, yet at times warm and tender relationship. This duality, coupled with Laura’s deep loneliness, creates a conflicting reaction to the relationship – while deeply troubling it is somehow understandable.
While dialogue is sparse, empty space is artistically filled with sounds of the surrounding environment, amplifying the impression of unremitting isolation and longing. Rowe’s study of loneliness is honest and his use of momentary flashes of the calendar imbue the film with a slight tension. The excessive sexual content, disturbing and graphically portrayed, may be too much for some.