a film by Julián Hernández
2003 | 80 mins | Mexico
›› A Thousand Clouds of Peace
an angst laden ode to the broken heart
A Thousand Clouds of Peace by Julián Hernández This self-proclaimed 'poetic meditation on love' finds seventeen-year-old gay teen Gerardo searching the streets of Mexico City, in the hope of deciphering the hidden message of a farewell note. It is one that reminds him of his love for Bruno, a man he met and fell obsessively in love with, just a few days earlier.

In short, this striking black and white feature is but an ode to the broken heart and one that arrives on-screen complete with lingering camera shots of the male physique, acts of sexual intimacy, not to mention full frontal views of the leading member of the cast. Only no amount of male nudity and sexual interplay can offset a good story and whilst Juan Carlos Ortuño as Gerardo excels in the smoldering looks department, the narrative, what little there is of it, notably falters, as the hero of the piece takes on rent boy qualities, albeit without taking the money, as he goes from one encounter to another in the hope of finding the answer to his quest, only to end up confused and lost in a downward spiral of self-destruction.

A Thousand Clouds of Peace by Julián Hernández Only was there an answer to be found? Certainly not in the choice of men on offer here. Yet fans of the work of Julián Hernández will not be disappointed by his directorial attention to the art of black and white photography, a medium that is used here to considerable effect to highlight the fact that love can be found, if only for a fleeting moment, on the cruising grounds and poverty stricken back streets of Mexico City. For this is without doubt a visually impressive work, one in which Hernández' creative cinematography frankly makes this soulful scenario, an all the more classy affair.

And yet the end result is a work seemingly ingrained with the angst and self-loathing of its central character, one who is used and abused by those he meets who assume he is but a male prostitute. Sadly for him, he has failed to realise that his search for love, has seen him looking for 'the one' in all the wrong places that lie below the thousand clouds of the title.
screened as part of Manchester Cornerhouse's Spanish & Latin American Film Festival 2005
starring: Juan Carlos Ortuño, Juan Carlos Torres, Salvador Alvarez, Llane Fragoso, Salvador Hernández,
Miguel Loaiza, Pablo Molina, Mario Oliver, Manuel Grapain Zaquelarez
Copyright 2005 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #106
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