OCT 28 – Monday – 7pm | Chelsea Theatre, Chapel Hill
Li Cheng. Guatemala / USA. 2018. 85 min. Spanish with English subtitles.
Nineteen-year-old José lives with his devout mother in one of Guatemala City’s roughest neighborhoods. They earn a living selling sandwiches and delivering food. While his mother devotes her free time to church, José arranges random sexual encounters with strangers through an app. Through Luis, a migrant from the Caribbean, José will discover a world far more tender that the violently homophobic one he lives in. Winner of the Queer Lion Award at last year’s Venice Film Festival.
Preceded by short film:
Kbela. Dir. Yasmin Thaiiná. Brazil. 2017. 21 min. Portuguese with English subtitles.
KBELA is an audiovisual experience held in a collaborative way by black women about black women. Whether through the movies or through the hair, these women have in common the search for new possibilities to narrate their stories in different fields where machismo and racism are obstacles to be overcome. The film’s production process is based on networks of affection and the internet – the film was cast through social networks to ensure the diversity of characters who also collaborated with their personal stories for the short. An online fundraiser had the collaboration of 117 people and raised $5,000 to pay for the film’s recordings.
Introduction and Q&A led by the Gender and Sexuality Working Group
“Confident visual sense…a sensitive portrait [with a] depth of feeling.” –The Hollywood Reporter
“A touching debut…sexually frank in an honest, fresh fashion.” – Screen Daily
“Raw and authentic.” – Remezcla
Winner of multiple awards, including the Queer Lion from the 75th Annual Venice Film Festival,
José is a gripping, layered and beautifully honest story about one working class young man’s struggle to find himself. Made in the neorealist filmmaking tradition, the film is a nuanced and vivid look at being gay in Central America. It opens on January 31 at New York City’s Quad Cinema and is now available for North American theatrical bookings starting in February.
José (magnetic newcomer Enrique Salanic) lives with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota) in Guatemala City, where they survive on her selling sandwiches at bus stops and with him working at a local restaurant. It is a poor and sometimes dangerous country where, dominated by conservative Catholic and Evangelical Christian religion, living one’s life as an openly gay man is hard for José to imagine. His mother has never had a husband, and as her youngest and favorite child, though at the edge of manhood at 19-years old, she is determined to hold on to him. Reserved and private, José fills his free moments playing with his phone and random sex with other men arranged on street corners and dating apps. When he meets attractive and gentle Luis (Manolo Herrera), a migrant from the rural Caribbean coast, they pursue an unexpected relationship with more emotion than José has ever felt. He is thrust into new passion and pain, and self-reflection, that push him to rethink his life even as he is reluctant to take a leap of faith.
Venice Film Festival Official Selection & Queer Lion Award Winner
AWARDS & FESTIVALSQueer Lion at Venice Film Festival and Best Film at Boston LGBT, KASHISH Mumbai & Honolulu Rainbow film festivals, among others; and selection of Miami Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, El Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (Havana, Cuba), Outfest Los Angeles, Hong Kong international Film Festival, and many more.