Monday, January 30, 2006

Qinceañera queerness at Sundance Film Fest

Qinceañera has claimed both the jury and audience prizes at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film, a coming of age story that takes place in the heavily Latino neighborhood of Echo Park, features a cast of newcomers getting some great attention for their acting. Among them is Jesse Garcia who plays Carlos (pictured), the lead character's gay cousin, whose father has kicked him out for being gay but leads a rough life which includes flirtations with local gangs (aparently it was a very gay year at Sundance).

Though some are comparing the film to "made-for-cable forgiveness melodramas of the Lifetime Channel and Oxygen Network variety," we hope that it reaches New York movie screens so we can judge by ourselves.

It is not the first time that an independent flick explores issues related to Latino thugness and gay identity. In 2003, Tadeo Garcia explored these themes more directly in "On the Down-Low" which was based in the Southside of Chicago instead of Los Angeles. My organization co-sponsored a presentation of that particular film at the 16th New York City LGBT Film Festival, NewFest, where it won Best US Feature honors.

What the Village Voice says about the film:


Wan and cutesy, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's
QUINCEAÑERA is most notable for making explicit the slumming subtext of many an earnest Sundance crowd-pleaser. Shot near the directors' own Echo Park residence and focused largely on the neighborhood's Latino community (in particular a newly out, tough gay boy and his possibly immaculately pregnant cousin), it's less about culture-clash affirmation than gentrifiers' guilt.

6 comments:

Lito Sandoval said...

Interesting. I wait with some trepidation.

I didn't like On the Down Low, i think i preferred the short film it grew out of better. I think the crowd in SF walked away from it thinking it was hoky(sp?). For me it raised questions of our [gay men's] exoticization of thug culture, and is it any different than white men who only like latinos. (I never have answers, only questions.)

Andrés Duque said...

Lito, I agree. I never saw the short film and still think that the version I saw of "On the Down Low" had some great scenes. But overall the thugged-out ending marred the film and naming the film "On the Down Low" seemed to play to the emerging media phenomenon back then and not necessarily to the film. At the screening I attended the director seemed to aknowledge that the flick was a final thesis project rather than a film he was happy with (or maybe I misunderstood some of his comments).

seyd said...

I can't wait to see this movie!

KRISTA AND JENNIFER said...

I WOULD LIKE TO SAY MY HEART WAS BROKEN WHEN I SEEN THE MOVIE I CRYED FOR THREE DAYS BECAUSE IT WAS SO WRONG WHAT THEM BOYS DID TO SUCH AN INNOCENT YOUNG LADY. I AM A LESBIAN AND A MOTHER AND I HAVE MANY ISSUES I DEAL WITH ON A DAILY BASIS BUT MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILY OF GWEN SHE SEEMED LIKE SHE WAS A WONDERFUL PERSON AND I PRAY THAT THE LORD WILL HEAL YOUR PAIN.. YOU ARE IN MY DAILY PRAYERS.. GOD BLESS ALL OF THE FAMILY OF GWEN ARAJO

Anonymous said...

On The Downlow is a great film. Coming out on video in January. Please check it out.

Mr. Munoz said...

i had the chance of checking out on the downlow in washington by chance. all i can say was that it was amazing that the director, tadeo garcia was able to pull this feature with a small budget. the movie was to the point and what i loved about it was the subtle ease the characters had towards each other. the kiss was hot and was happy that there was no sex scene like all the other gay movies that have been made. i look forward to the dvd with the short film for which the feature was inspired and more than anything, this movie is an inspiration that if you put your heart to it, you can accomplish anything.