Four Latin American Short Films That Explore Gender Identity

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Latin Reel
Courtesy of Latin Reel
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Latin Reel, a year-round film series created to foster understanding and inspire cross-cultural discussions throughout New York City by screening films made by or about the Latin American community, is hosting an entire evening of short films late this month. Curated by Jesus Hernandez, the narrative shorts program explores sexuality, gender fluidity, and interpersonal communications among young people found in very different circumstances, with four narratives that examine early-formed constructions and rebukes of gender identity.

Diego Cespedes‘s El verano del león eléctrico (The Summer of the Electric Lion) hails from Chile and promises an eerie tale set in a house far from the city. Alonso accompanies his dear sister, Daniela, who expects to become the seventh wife of The Lion, a prophet who (according to urban legend) electrocutes you when you touch him.

On a sunnier note, Victoria Rivera (who’ll be present for a Q&A at the screening) will be showing her short Verde. The Colombian short follows Emilia and Martina, two girls who have always been inseparable. But when their cousins come over on a hot summer day, Emilia learns that her sister’s priorities might be changing. Equally interested in young people’s ability to shape-shift is Denise Kelm‘s Lui. This poetic Brazilian short is a snapshot of the title character’s world. Lui is a circus teacher who enjoys fucking around playfully with routine, with sex, and with gender.

With a title that puts its subject’s main characteristic front and center, Venezuelan director Hector Silva will be showing his short film El destetado (The Foreign Body). Don’t be fooled by its English translation for this is about Jairo, a native young man from Venezuela who was born with no nipples (ergo “destetado” which roughly translates to nippleless). Distanced from the customs of his people, the short follows Jairo as he explores a male ideal to belong to.

Latin Reel Narrative Shorts program runs February 28, 2019.