- 1h 21m
Carlos lives in a youth shelter in the center of Bogota, a kind of refuge trying to mitigate the harshness of life. Its Christmas and Carlos longs to spend the day with his mother and sister... Read allCarlos lives in a youth shelter in the center of Bogota, a kind of refuge trying to mitigate the harshness of life. Its Christmas and Carlos longs to spend the day with his mother and sister, who are lost in the spiral of urban violence. As he leaves the shelter, Carlos is confro... Read allCarlos lives in a youth shelter in the center of Bogota, a kind of refuge trying to mitigate the harshness of life. Its Christmas and Carlos longs to spend the day with his mother and sister, who are lost in the spiral of urban violence. As he leaves the shelter, Carlos is confronted with the rigor of the streets in his neighborhood, where the law of the strongest, th... Read all
18-year-old Carlos (Dilan Felipe Ramírez Espitia) lives in a poor Colombia community, most precisely in a youth shelter where he spends his days with other youth like him, avoiding to be at home where things are far complicated for him to deal with a sad mother and his older sister who works as a prostitute (or something like it, the movie isn't much clear about it). He's also there to avoid the typical street violence, where boys can only become a man if they get involved in dangerous situations and don't let anyone mess around with you, respect is earned with the power of your fists or your gun. But eventually, during Christmas and New Year's Eve festivities he decides to reach out to his family and becomes acquainted with a local gang where he has to be "baptized" and prove his manhood whether by facing tough guys or sleeping with a prostitute.
But truth be told: Carlos was not made for such environment. He still has a boyish look, very scrawny and with some feminine features (yet somehow he's always seen as a young man, no one challenges his sexuality or call him as effeminate). While on the outside he tries to impose his macho stance as a tough guy, deep down inside he knows he ain't that guy, he's very sensitive, caring for his family, and it gets to a point where the ritual of a sexual awakening is needed so he can be considered a man, he cannot perform it with the chosen girl - if any of his mates ask, she'll have to tell them he was a very good lover. That's some of the mysteries and contradictions revolving around Carlos and the frail masculinity that needs to impose one facade and hide another.
Memorable sequences aren't good enough to make a film good. This series of random vignettes with a character who barely has good moments in his life and faces danger everywhere while trying to define his own existence and maybe find some validation from the outisde and also within himself. There's a bunch of fine interesting moments here and there but overall the movie finds itself wandering with a confused character who barely has a chance and make a resolute decision about what he really wants in life - I know it's that turning point kind of age, we've all been there trying to figure what we want from life and for ourselves but following this particular character and the situations involved it all went dead and lifeless. Little by little I stop caring about him. The presentation of events is lacking, it just keep developing the character and it doesn't make some resolution on anything.
Some reviewers are praising the film and linking Carlos as a queer culture figure. I'm somewhat fine with that definition since he carries some traits and might identify himself as being one, there are many clues that indicate that. But it's a pity we never see him acting forward with it, he's too repressed with himself to the point we can't see him having some male figure of whom he admires the presence or sexuality, or just some glance towards the alpha male types who surround him either to support him or to threat him.
So if we take into consideration this particular setting the film is disappointing since it doesn't show much hope for Carlos in this sad environment, just reinforces stereotypes about anyone straight, gay, male or female, and we as society while evolving in not creating strong definitions and breaking some conventions feel like we're just witnessing a reality that isn't interesting neither has anything we can learn from.
It just didn't appeal to me as it could. It's not a tragic loss neither a waste of time, but it fails to make us connect with everything that it presents. 5/10.
- Oct 28, 2022