Like a tamale or burrito filled with tasty things, so Cine Gay is the sweet filling within the annual San Diego Latino Film Festival. This year’s special showcase of LGBT films from Mexico, Argentina and other Spanish-speaking countries will run March 12th-22nd at the AMC Fashion Valley 18 theater.
One gay-interest local premiere, Muerte en Buenos Aires (Death in Buenos Aires), will actually serve as one of the overall fest’s main Spotlight Films. Vividly set in the 1980’s, big hair and all, it stars Academy Award nominee Demian Bichir (A Better Life) as a detective and married family man who gets a little too interested in the cute male rookie assigned to an increasingly complex murder case. Let’s just say their investigation becomes very personal.
“We are truly excited to share the news of these selections for this year’s festival,” said Phillip Lorenzo, the fest’s Exhibitions Director. “(The films) represent diversity on all levels, including genre, nationality represented, and the range of emotions our audience will experience.”
The other Spotlight Films to be shown are the acclaimed Mexican horror film Visitantes, about a mother fighting to save her family from wrathful ghosts; Messi, Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia’s biography of soccer star Lionel Messi; and the romantic comedy Amor de mis Amores (Love of My Life).
While on the surface Amor de mis Amores appears to be your typical hetero affair, it has a decidedly queer sensibility. Writer-director Manolo Caro often seems to be paying homage to gay filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar with this zesty tale chock full of confused lovers, hot men and nuns in their underwear. The cast of characters also includes a trans club performer and a bipolar bartender. Almodóvar regular Rossy de Palma even makes an appearance.
Making its San Diego debut as part of Cine Gay is the splendid and sexy Cuatro Lunas (Four Moons). Mexican filmmaker Sergio Tovar Velarde may have taken a cue from his countryman, Oscar-winning writer-director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), in crafting this movie’s four interweaving gay stories. One involves two childhood friends, Adolfo and Leo, who reunite in college and become lovers. Other stories depict a longtime couple on the verge of breaking up, a young boy with a crush on his cousin, and an elderly poet obsessed with a gorgeous young hustler.
Additional LGBT features to be screened are Futuro Beach, in which a lifeguard falls for the partner of a man who drowned on his watch; La Visita (The Visit), about a long-absent son who returns home for his father’s funeral as a woman; Liz en Septiembre (Liz in September), starring Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy Returns) as a terminally-ill birthday girl dared by her friends to seduce another woman; and En la Gama de los Grises (In the Grayscale), about a husband who unexpectedly leaves his wife for a man.
The Cine Gay Showcase also features an LGBT short film program. Complete screening information and ticket sales can be accessed at Cine Gay website.
Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.