Latin Boys Go to Hell. – movie reviews
In this tragedy set in Brooklyn, three gay Latino youths struggle with an irreconcilable conflict–their yearning for meaningful gay love and their attraction to a macho image that rejects any such notion. Twenty-year-old Justin is torn between a crush on his straight cousin, Angel, and his lust for Carlos, a Latin muscle boy of godlike proportions. Carlos’s quintessential machismo is also what attracts Braulio,, who thinks he is Carlos’s boyfriend but soon learns that Carlos sees their relationship quite differently. The result of all this confusion? Not pretty.
Based on an unpublished novel by 26-year-old Mexican-American writer Andre Salas, Latin Boys is the feature debut of self-defined queer filmmaker Ela Troyano. Part of New York’s downtown film scene, the Cuban-American Troyano has made short projects on issues of sexuality.
Here, she delivers lots of scantily clad Latin boys (a photographer compiling an exhibit of young nudes is to thank for that), some of whom seem chosen for their striking looks rather than their acting abilities. One exception is Justin (played by Irwin Ossa), who unerringly captures the angst of a boy’s first love.
Through this tale of endless conflict and disastrous consequences, Troyano’s politically incorrect critique of Latin culture emerges: These boys are the not-so-innocent victims of the homophobic macho culture they perpetuate. It’s a powerful message few gay films tackle.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Liberation Publications, Inc.
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