Julian Hernandez is considered to be the great gay Mexican filmmaker and watching his movies are always a treat. His latest is an anthology of five short films, each an encounter that is sensual and seductive. The best of the shorts contained here has a very provocative title, “Young Man at the Bar Masturbating with Rage and Nerve”. Christian is an attractive 24-year-old dancer and Jonathan is a hustler who is seemingly good at both of his careers because he pours his heart and soul into them. Jonathan and Christian are the same person. He is a very affable young man who lives life as it comes and who deserves to succeed, but we are never sure if he will succeed or not. By selling his body, he is able to support his real love of dancing and while these two are not mutually exclusive they play similar roles in his life. The film is shot documentary style with interviews that intercut scenes and sections that have obviously been staged. Jonathan discusses how his naiveté about being gay and the possibilities of dance slowly evolve into something more and we see how prostitution fits into his life and that dance brings the two sides together.
In “Wandering Clouds” we see two men meet up to dance in the water at the local swimming pool but have to deal with an unpleasant homophobe. In voiceover, one of the guys speaks about his relationship with the other and that it is a mix of friendship and rivalry. When a third man arrives, everything could change. The film explores the difficulties of relationships and how from the erotic to the jealousies that can emerge.
“Atmosphere” is an intriguing odd story about a mysterious outbreak. A woman enters a building where the only occupant seems to be a single man. From a loud speaker, we hear about the dangers of the world including a possible pandemic that appears to be threatening to destroy everything. As the women sneaks around the building, she begins to realize that things she’s been led to believe may not be true. The film is somewhat with the viewer being asked to figure out what’s going on. Starting out in black white before various different colors are brought into the short’s world, all sorts of questions are raised and we are never really sure what the film is about.
“To Live” is the shortest and most sexually charged of the films. It starts with The Pain, where a man who’s been knocked to the dirt is approached by another guy who wants to know if he loves him. That is followed by “Rivers In The Time Of Rain” in which a naked man is sitting on the edge of the bath while a woman in on the bed next door. The short wears its artiness on its sleeve as it explores both the characters’ emotional closeness and distance. “Trembling” was directed by Roberto Fiesco’s and it about an assistant working in a barbershop who opens the business in the evening (even though he knows he shouldn’t) to help out a young man who needs a haircut and a shave. Over the course of the evening the two men get increasingly close, with sexual tension building between them, which at first the shop worker attempts to reject.