a sexually active bear finds himself raising his nephew
What's a carefree gay man to do, when his sister drops off her streetwise nine-year-old son Bernardo for two weeks, whilst she and her latest sexual encounter spend time exploring the spiritual delights of India, only to end up being detained at her majesties pleasure courtesy of a drug induced high. Well the answer is to take on the task of raising his nephew, surrogate father style and inparticular from protecting him from the mother-in-law from hell, in the form of one Doña Teresa.
Not that this new found responsibility is going to cramp Pedro's lifestyle you understand, one prone to acts of casual sex in and around the cruising grounds of downtown Madrid. Only it does, as his friends soon come to realise. As too do we come to realise that a scenario of the like of Kramer vs Kramer lies just around the cinematic corner. And sure enough, it isn't long before Teresa seizes the opportunity to become a permanent part of Bernardo's life, convinced in her belief that the upbringing of her grandson should not be left in the hands of a sexually active homosexual. Trouble is, Pedro isn't entirely sure if she's right or wrong!
Devoid of the chiselled physiques of so many recent works, this emotional feature set its stall within the subculture of bears. Namely men, often proudly paunchy hairy men,
who are not afraid to show that the desires they feel, are just as real and meaningful as the emotions shared by gay men of the buffed and shaved variety.
And yet it is the interplay between José Luis García-Pérez as Pedro and David Castillo as Bernardo that makes this film shine and inparticular their deepening friendship, one which Bernardo embraces with little regard to Pedro's sexuality, nor for that matter the sexuality of his circle of diverse friends. Only and as somewhat expected, the light humour of the first act shifts in tone to the heavier issue of child custody in the second. To that end, Empar Ferrer excels as the mother-in-law
we come to hate. Only she, like Pedro, has Bernardo's best interest at heart, each respectively doing what they believe is right for the child.
Complete with some explicit scenes of gay sex, a number of which appear to have been inserted more to reinforce Pedro's already established sexuality, than as an integral part of the story, this work in running the full spectrum of emotions, walks with difficulty the tightrope of switching between comedy and social responsibility. But then, such a problem is not inherent to this film alone. Yet in detailing the fact that when it comes to raising a child, the sexuality of the child and that in whose care the child is in, transcends sexual preference, this equally marks a film that is proud to showcase bears in all of their bearded hairy homosexual glory. And that, in itself, is highly refreshing!
screened as part of the 19th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2005