If you think your family is dysfunctional, go see Quemar las Naves. Chances are, you'll feel better about it. Miami Latin Gay Film Festival opens tonight with a fascinating tale about a brother and sister living in a crumbling, isolated villa with their dieing mother in central Mexico. Directed by newcomer Francisco Franco, Quemar las Naves (Burn the Bridges) won audience and cinematography awards at Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico, but hasn't been released in the United States. Here's the gist according to a Variety Magazine:
"Siblings Helena and Sebastian develop the hots for each other while caring for their dying, cancer-ridden mom. Add in the family's snooping maid Chaya; the awkward homoerotic impulses Sebastian feels for the new boy at school, Juan, and the familiar tropes of a sprawling bourgeois manse on the edge of decay and the oppressive atmosphere of Sebastian's Catholic-run school, and the film would seem awash in clichés and narrative minefields. Instead, Franco and screenwriter Maria Renee Prudencio find a groove early on that keeps the film hopping with the unexpected, hinging everything on the volatile emotions of a pair of teens on the precipice of major life changes."
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(Read comments from above actor after the jump.)
Angel Onesimo Nevarez, the talented Mexican television star who plays Sebastian was 17 years old when cast for the film. He told Riptide this morning that actors and directors spent a year rehearsing scenes, doing research, and developing an emotional back-story before a single camera emerged. "At first, when I read the script, it scared me," says Nevarez, now 20 years old. "But this is not a movie about incest or being gay. It's a movie that moves you and will make you ask important questions."
Growing up in small town Mexico, Nevarez was aware of the "taboos about being gay in Latin America," he says. Though he's straight, he worried at first about taking on what his family saw as a controversial role. "To me those taboos are not ok," he says. "You need to be who you are." The film shows tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Colony Theater on Lincoln Road. $11 for adults.