José (2018) Poster

(II) (2018)

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7/10
Decent composite of Guatemalan gay youth
chong_an5 June 2019
Jose is the only child who is still living at home with his mother, with both having to start a commute before dawn to their respective jobs. Jose's sexual release is with men in a hotel that rents rooms by the hour. When offered chances for a long-term relationship, Jose has a battle between love and loyalty to his mother.

I saw this film at the Inside Out LGBT film festival, with a Q+A with the co-writer. The director and writers spent time in Central America interviewing subjects, and this is a composite of their research. Unfortunately, references to Guatemalan culture and history could be lost to foreigners. Rather crucial to the story is the frequency mothers may hang on to their youngest children to avoid being alone (there is a reference to Jose's sisters). Other references are to a civil war and an earthquake, both of which killer a great number of people, but may be extraneous to the main theme of choices in life.

The film is shot in a raw, gritty style, but that suits the environment the characters live in.
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