Tu Me Manques @ Outfest

A wonderfully original Bolivian film directed and written by Rodrigo Bellott (Who Killed the White Llama?, Sexual Dependency) made its world premiere at Outfest. It is an adaptation of a stage play which was hugely popular in Bolivia. Tackles the subjects of identity, grief, self-discovery, culture, and love.

Grieving like only another parent would understand, Jorge (Oscar Martinez – Berlin is in Germany, Inseperables) is trying to figure out who his recently deceased son Gabriel (Quim del Rio, Luis Gamarra, Ben Lukovski, Jose Duran), who was living in New York City, truly was. While going through his cell phone and laptop he receives a Facetime request from a Sebastian (Fernando Barbosa – first film). Soon he discovers that Gabriel and Sebastian were lovers. His son was gay.

This comes as a shock to Jorge, a businessman who lives like most in the very conservative country of Bolivia. Homosexuality is not accepted there as such most remain in the closet. Despite all the evidence Jorge refuses to believe Sebastian.

Still searching for answers, Jorge travels from Bolivia to New York City. He arrives at the loft which Gabriel and Sebastian lived in together. The two argue. One trying to get over the loss of his love the other refusing to believe what is obvious.

Sebastian has decided to work his way through his grief by writing and staging, with his brother, a play based on Gabriel’s life. His life as a gay man and Sebastian’s lover. All that means being from conservative Bolivia.

Emotional and raw, this is a film which will affect you. Deeply. Nothing is sadder than someone not being able to live their life. Live their life as they wish as it harms no one. Being forced to hide in the shadows. Hide who they love. Living this type of life forces a person to think the only relief from their pain is to take their life. Sad.

There is also moments of light here. Sebastian channels his grief towards the creation of something beautiful Something which celebrates Gabriel and men who love men. A work which seeks to change people’s minds and hearts. Social change springing out of art. Incredible strength is demonstrated by all involved.

In 2007 Variety named Bellott as one of the Top Ten Latin American talents to watch. He has floated between genres like drama and horror throughout his career demonstrating his talent knows no cinematic boundaries. Everything here serves the film. The fact that, like in the stage play, the role of Gabriel is played by several different actors. The delicate touch Bellott has not allowing the camera to become intrusive to what is happening between his actors. Everything is done to bring forth the honesty and emotions of the story. Honoring the lives of all involved.

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