›› Pray for Us - Ruega por Nosotros ‹‹

a short film by Andrés Madrigal Alvarado.

2019 | 16 mins | Costa Rica.

a captivating thriller on the rights and wrongs of life.

Dave says:

There's a terrific sense of menace to this short film from twenty-one-year-old Costa Rican writer and director Andrés Madrigal Alvarado, thanks to a series of well placed close-up shots, together with an unnerving score.

It tells the story of three punks who try to evade the law by taking refuge in a corner shop run by a deeply pious old lady. Known to the locals as Mama Aurora (Sandra Ribas), her religious convictions are set to be tested when two of the youths kiss each other in front of her. Furious at such sexual openness and speaking words of "repent while you still can", she's clearly is a woman with strong opinions. Yet and in as much as their homosexuality is an affront to her Catholic faith, what they have brought with them to her store has crossed a dividing line, that being a stolen icon sacred to the community. Only to protect it, is she willing to break one of the most holy of commandments?

In short, this is "gay Jim, but not as we know it" and that's what makes this wonderfully refreshing scenario all the more welcome, as Alvarado delights in playing the narrative almost spaghetti western in style, with the two adversaries facing off against each other, one that finds leader of the pack Zeta (Saúl Espinazo) up against a woman determined to right a wrong, whatever the cost be. Yet and as good as the boys are at playing the punks of the piece and here cue Leo Ocampo as Ariel and David Elizondo as Jason equally going for cinematic gold, frankly Ribas steals the show, beautifully conveying a series of emotions that range from absolute fear to outright rage.

That the boys have sinned is without doubt; not by way of their sexuality, but by way of having committed theft in the most sacrosanct of places. But in dealing out punishment, is Mama Aurora guilty of lacking the compassion of the God she prays to, given she never questions why the youths stole the icon in the first place and moreover why they fled a house; that something, or someone, that they evidently do not wish to return to. Whatever way, the result is a captivating thriller on the rights and wrongs of life, from a filmmaker who must surely have a major career ahead of him. Need more be said?

›› available as part of THE LATIN BOYS - VOLUME 1 shorts compilation.
›› posted: Saturday, 30th January, 2021.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - none. 
Overall - file under ... 4+ stars. 

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