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Country: Guatemala | USA , Language: Spanish, 85 mins

  • Director: Li Cheng
  • Writer: Li Cheng; George F. Roberson
  • Producer: Li Cheng; George F. Roberson

CGiii Comment

Winner of the Queer Lion award [@ Venice, beating The Favourite] and one of our most anticipated films in the festival...the word 'disappointing' doesn't even come close to describing it!

Nothing much happens...and, when something does happen [e.g. the earthquake] it's over in a flash with absolutely no dramatic consequences whatsoever...why bother!?! Li Cheng seems to favour filming [his actor] from behind...too too many shots of the back of José's head.

José is a closeted, duty-bound young man who likes to get his kit off whenever he can...yes, there is [needless] abundant nudity [& sex scenes]. However, the crux of the story is the relationship between mother and son...she, a God-fearing, emotional blackmailer...he, a closeted Lothario who can't see a gift-horse even when it smacks him across the face. Everything is ripe and set for the expected [coming out] showdown...the only problem doesn't happen! What?!?

José is screaming out for conflict and confrontation...and, resolution. Nada. We get it, the conflict was inward, with himself...but, it all makes for some very dull viewing and duller story-telling. As for that ridiculous ending...Li Cheng obviously got bored with the telling of his dull story and - out-of-the-blue - just when you least expect it...ended it! Talk about an anti-climax! What a [frustrating] disappointment.


The(ir) Blurb...

José (19 years old) lives with his Mother (50s) in Guatemala City - a typical lower-class existence in one of the world's most dangerous, religious, and impoverished countries. She never had a husband, and José is her youngest and favorite child. Her life is her church, and selling sandwiches at a bus stop. José spends his days on cramped buses and fighting traffic as he runs food to waiting drivers. Aloof and resigned to things as they are, he fills his free moments playing with his phone and random sex arranged on street corners and dating apps. When he meets Luis, a migrant from the rural Caribbean coast, they pursue an unexpected relationship and José is thrust into passion and pain and self-reflection that was previously unimaginable.

Cast & Characters

Enrique Salanic as Jose
Manolo Herrera as Luis
Ana Cecilia Mota as Mom
Jhakelyn Waleska Gonzalez Gonzalez as Monica
Esteban Lopez Ramirez as Carlos
Cesar Lorenzo Yojcom Candido as Manager
Juan Andres Molina Cardona as Juan
Alba Irene Lemus as Grandma
Carlos Humberto Fuentes Maldonado as Dancing teacher
Jennifer Cecilia Amoia Mota as Sister
Evelyn Celinda Bautista Torres as Luis's mom
Jashua Belvino Argueta Mejia as Paolo
Valeria Maribel Xutuc Reyes as Emma
Mytian Ticas as Unattractive guy
Rony Andres Saavedra as Bus boy