Leaving Inhibitions Behind
Four young men from different backgrounds living in the big city explore their own daddy issues in Daniel Armando’s “Daddy’s Boy”. They shed their inhibitions and clothes during soft-core porn shoots to make money. Shot in black-and-white this is a exploratory film is a queer neo- noir exploratory film that exposes the complexities of male identity and sexuality through its characters, as they question the responsibilities of adulthood while leaving behind their boyhoods. We see that they are more than just their clothes and inhibitions.
The four characters are Max (Al Miro), an actor somewhere in his mid-to-late 30s, Jorge (James Koroni) we later learn is Manuel’s (Jonathan Iglesias) brother, we find out later to Manuel (Jonathan Iglesias) and Fabian (Joe Lopez), a lost soul. The film is very “artsy,” with its glittering images of Manhattan at night, Central Park’s pond, the Westside Highway, the men who pay other men for their sexual imagery, ignoring who they are for real. The movie essentially has no plot and the director has dozens of images to pick and choose to make his point. The film holds out attention because of the mood it creates and it is left to each viewer to interpret as he wishes.
Director Daniel Armando features scenes in gay porn studios and male burlesque photo shoots and it is an intriguing film. It offers an almost timeless and placeless meditation on same-sex attraction. And while there’s plenty of suggestive male nudity the film is — as its title suggests — more interested in staging a poetic meditation on fatherhood.
In one scene, for example, two brothers reminisce about their father’s disapproval over finding one of them dancing in their mother’s heels, a practice the grown up young man still enjoys. In between conversational scenes between men by the Chelsea piers, in lonely hotel rooms, and in park benches, Armando offers us musical interludes where we see a bearded male dancer (James Koroni) rehearse shirtless in heels, lovingly exhibiting and admiring his movements in the mirrors around him. It’s one of the many moments in the film that’s as much a celebration of the male form as well as an attempt to rethink what it means to be a man.