“BITTERSWEET WATERS”— In Love in Rural Mexico


In Love in Rural Mexico

Amos Lassen

Jesus Canchola Sanchez’s “Bittersweet Waters” is a visual feast and a wonderful movie. Sanchez directed, edited and stars in the film  and he has done something he can be very proud of. Basically this is the sweet love story of two gay men who live in a tiny rural village in Mexico, a place where everyone knows everyone and everyone is concerned about what the other is doing. Being openly gay in such a traditional and conservative backwater area is a near impossibility.

Atl (played by Sánchez) and Diego (Ramon Varela) have been lovers since they were 15 years old and have been inseparable ever since.  Now we meet them as grown men and each is being pressured into getting married to the local girls and becoming fathers.  Diego gives in and has been dating Dolores (Denis Montes) even though he sleeps with Ati every night.

When Dolores becomes pregnant, Diego must marry her.   At the same time Atl became independent wealthy. His father died and left him several properties but even with the wealth, he has to deal with his scheming mother who wants some of the inheritance that she believed should have come to hers. 

There is no love lost between mother and his son. He was raised by and looks up to his elderly paternal grandmother, who still runs the household. Both mother and grandmother are aware that Atl is gay and know about his liaisons with Diego. Atl’s mother holds this over her son while his grandmother is completely supportive in her own silent way.

Dolores tries to ban her husband-to-be from seeing Atl who he loves more than her and she knows it, and Ati’s mother convinces her own  gigolo boyfriend to rob him. There will have to be some changes in everyone’s lives from now on and this depends on Atl who has shown determination and hidden strength who makes a decision that will change all their lives. 

The acting is excellent all around and the story is remarkably authentic. The male leads have such beautiful chemistry making their passion and commitment to each other appear to be very real.  This is not about being  gay or straight— it is about love.

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