Director Gabe Klinger's narrative feature debut Porto dissects a passionate one-night stand between a thirty-something French student, Mati (Lucie Lucas), and a 26-year-old American ex-pat, Jake (Anton Yelchin), who lock eyes in a cafe before Mati whisks the couple away to a nearly bare apartment for a sensual, relentless rendezvous. Klinger cuts back and forth in time from the night in question to many years in the future, imagining what would have been if the impromptu passion these two felt on that night had been sustained -- but to what ends, I'm not sure. This is a film steeped in the nouvelle vague tradition, with poppy bits of poetic-seeming dialogue and pretty pictures of beautiful, pining people, shot on multiple soon-to-be-extinct film formats (8 mm, 16 mm and 35 mm). All of this is attractive, yet I felt nothing for these people, their pain or their possible lost future.
We watch the lovers walk from the seaside down a street, where they will walk possibly to a bar or a restaurant or maybe through a field of tall grass. On grainy film stock, their walking maybe is meant to be imbued with profundity, especially as they stroll through a village of Romanesque and gothic architecture. But no. They're just walking.
The director possesses a keen eye for impressive images. But these sex scenes also deliver some of the most cringeworthy dialogue of the film. Klinger makes sure to frame Lucas' breasts so we can always see them front and center as she's ravished. This whole thing is so brazenly a male fantasy that the film could have begun with, "Dear Penthouse," and I wouldn't have questioned it.