›› Camionero - Truck Driver
a short film by Sebastián Miló.
2012 | 28 mins | Cuba.
principal players: Antonio Alonso / Randy, Reinier Díaz / Yerandy, Héctor Medina / Raidel and with Osvaldo Doimeadios and Broselianda Hernández.
Adapted Synopsis: "With a title that is all too aptly reflected in the closing scene, this uncompromising short film from writer and director Sebastián Miló relates a fictional account of bullying and sheer brutality, as set within the rural boarding school environment of Cuban life, in the '70s."
Based on the short story A la vencida va la tercera by Yomar González, this is without doubt one of the most graphically honest depictions of the verbal and physical abuse suffered by a young man who, whether gay or not, finds himself a punching bag for the amusement of others. No surprise then that this makes for uncomfortable viewing, as sweet young teen Randy is subject to repeated attacks; the vile extent of which is frankly shocking. Turning into a quivering wreck as a result, barely able to answer questions put to him, his withdrawn demeanour reflects the mindset of a boy who dreads each and every minute of the day, knowing that the next assault lies just around the corner. Yet how much can anyone take, before their breaking point is reached? It is a question that dominates the story; only not in the way you may expect.
The devastating effects of unrelenting bullying, in Camionero.
In short, this in many ways is the Cuban equivalent of Dean Francis' poignant Australia short film Boys Grammar, given both works pull no punches in detailing unchecked bullying behind the closed doors of boarding school life. To that end Reinier Díaz, seen recently in Antonio Hens' gritty examination of love that is The Last Match is all too convincing at the leader of the pack, a sadistic role that is nicely countered by Héctor Medina as Randy's sole friend in the world Raidel; namely a young man who without fear, is determined to do whatever it takes to put an end to his torment. Yet as achingly realistic as their performances are, for me it is Antonio Alonso who steals the show as the picked upon teen of the piece; too afraid to speak up for himself, too traumatized to fight his corner - he is the youth who you just want to reach out a compassionate hand to.
Backed by a vibrant score from Yoan Yabor and well-played throughout, the result is a powerful angst-laden message-in-a-bottle piece that and whilst far from easy viewing, does however dramatically showcase the devastating effects that unrelenting bullying has on the mind and body, and the heavy price paid by one and all. True, the homosexual element is next to zero, but the picture this short paints is one that sadly many a gay teen is all too familiar with, making for a work that is as disturbing, as it is compelling.
Gay Visibility - next to zero.
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.