The 2009 Sundance Film Festival ended last weekend and I am certainly intrigued by the Grand Jury Prize winner "Push" (not to be confused with the lame looking sci-fi flick "Push" coming out this Friday, which looks like a re-tread of the dismal 2008 sci-fi flick "Jumper").
But, even if it didn't win an award, I've also been intrigued by another flick in competition called "La Mission". Benjamin Bratt plays Ché Rivera, a bus driver with a violent streak and a passion for lowrider cars, who discovers that his adored son is gay.
Interestingly, of the very few US films that have tackled gay themes in the Latino community, it's striking that "La Mission", "Quinceañera" - which won the Grand Jury prize at Sundance in 2006 - and "On the Down Low", are all set in Mexican-American communities. Then again, the dominant Latino communities in the cities in which they are set (San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively) is the Mexican-American community.
Oh, and openly gay former NBA star John Amaechi is listed as a Consulting Producer. Oh! And one more aside: I love the fact that actor Jesse Borrego also has a part in this film. Speaking of groundbreaking roles when it comes our communities represented on the screen check him out as Alexis, a transgender woman, in this "I Like It Like That" clip. Better yet, buy the movie. It's great!
Reviews so far are not bad but not great either. Variety calls the script "a little obvious" but says that the direction and the actors are "pleasingly naturalistic", with Bratt's charisma "at full wattage." The Hollywood Reporter says that the film is a "heartfelt production" which "offers a compelling insider's view of a culture foreign to most moviegoers" and also make note of Bratt's "charismatic performance", but calls the direction "a bit heavy handed". Both publications say that the movie will probably find at home on cable rather than at movie screens.
I for one hope to have the opportunity to see it on the big screen.
- Breakthrough black and Latino roles on the big screen (After Elton)
- "La Mission" directed, acted by Bay Area Bratts (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Spanish: "La Mission" reflects the violent reality of minorities in the US (El Pais)