“COLA DE MONO”— Christmas Eve in Chile, 1986

“Cola de Mono”

Christmas Eve in Chile, 1986

Amos Lassen

TLA Releasing brings us Alberto Fuguet’s LGBT film “Cola De Mono,” one of the most talked about gay films of recent times. It is set on Christmas Eve, 1986. Borja is a precocious teenager with a passion for film. As his extended family comes together to celebrate the holiday, the combined forces of the suffocating Chilean heat, free-flowing alcoholic drinks, and repressed desire contribute to the swift emergence of long-held secrets. What we have is a family melodrama and an explicit erotic thriller about the ways that we are controlled by passion and desire from our pop-culture tastes to our sexual fantasies.

Fuguet is the writer and director of six movies, including “Se arrienda” (2005), “Locaciones: Buscando a Rusty James” (2013), and “Invierno” (2015). He is also a novelist, having written more than a dozen books. This is his first LGBT-themed film.

“Cola de Mano” is something like eggnog and really impossible to translate so the film will be using its Spanish name and followed by the tagline, “Don’t drink it after midnight.” Fuguet is a gay artist who says, “all my work has been filtered through both my male and gay perspective.” “Cola de Mono” is more explicit in many aspects but it is not a bromance, which most of his films are. There have always been slight references in his movies to guys who are different, who don’t belong. His gaze has always been on men, whatever orientation the characters have. This film has more sex and nudity and is about desire, longing and a certain loneliness.  “Cola de Mono” is very gay but it is also a genre picture. It is also a tribute to B culture or perhaps a certain American mainstream cinema and literature.

There are many risqué scenes and a lot of male nudity yet I understand that none of the actors had any problems with this.

Fuguet superimposes the recipe for the Chilean Christmas eggnog Cola de mono and definitions for a jock strap, cruising, and info on the Baños Prat spa, in what is almost a didactic approach to the gay theme making  “Cola de Mono” a movie that a gay kid would take his mother to see. I know that I have not said much about the plot but I do not want to spoil the viewing experience for anyone. I think you can tell that I highly recommend this film.

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