a film by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo
1985 | 90 mins | Mexico
›› Doña Herlinda and Her Son
a heart-warming tale of social manners
Doņa Herlinda and Her Son by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo Cue the life of Rodolfo; a bisexual thirty-something neurosurgeon with a successful career in pediatric medicine and a cute boyfriend in the form of Ramón, a music student whose obvious liking for the son of Doña Herlinda is causing this devoted mother many a sleepless night. Only her worries are not the usual kind. Rather they concern her son's struggle for intimacy with Ramón given the overcrowded state of his boarding house accommodation, a situation that comes to the fore when over dinner Mother Herlinda casually suggests to Ramón that he stay over, every night - after all Rodolfo's bedroom is very big!

With Ramón now part of the family and Doña Herlinda having clearly found in him a deep friendship equal to that of her son, it would appear that everyone's a winner. Only thing is, few things in life are free and the cost of Mother Herlinda welcoming her son's gay lover into her household, is her desire for grandchildren. So cue Rodolfo courting the beautiful Olga, a situation that prompts Ramón to question whether the man he loves should be 'the one' in his life. But worry not Ramón, for could it be that Mother Herlinda is working on a plan to manipulate the situation, much it has to be said to everyone's advantage!

Doņa Herlinda and Her Son by Jaime Humberto Hermosillo To some, this feature may appear to have an almost amateurish feel to it and yet and unlike many a title I could mention, this film is notably up front in terms of its depiction of homosexual intimacy. All of which is remarkable given that in a country noted for its conservative approach to sexuality, here was a work that back in 1985 was proud to cinematically showcase two men in love with each other, in a non-judgmental and if anything, a matter-of-fact manner. Then again, openly gay director Jaime Humberto Hermosillo has never held back on homosexual inclusion, with almost all of his features having in full or in part some form of gay visibility.

In this instance, Hermosillo shone his spotlight on a story by Jorge López Páez of a mother whose desire to live happily with her son and his wife, is matched by her son's desire to live happily with both his male and female lovers. That the end product shot Hermosillo to international fame should be of no surprise, given he presents characters that we genuinely care about, with Guadalupe Del Toro inparticular shining in her portrayal of a woman who keeps us guessing as to whether she simply does not know or prefers to pretend not to know, what exactly is going on around her. Along the way, this heart-warming tale of social manners became one of the foundation stones of Latin American gay cinema, being refreshingly devoid of caricature and stereotype. Wonderful.
starring: Guadalupe Del Toro, Marco Antonio Treviño, Arturo Meza,
Letícia Lupercio, Guillermina Alba, Lucha Villa
Copyright 2008 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #159
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