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TagArmando Espitia

I Carry You With Me/Te llevo conmigo

“That place destroys people with loneliness.”

Iván (Armando Espitia) is a divorced single father who dreams of becoming a chef. But in his small town in Mexico, the best job he can get, despite his culinary training, is relegated to a menial role at his local restaurant. One day, Iván attends an underground party with his best friend Sandra (Michelle Rodriguez). There he meets Gerardo (Christian Vázquez), a handsome young man who catches his attention with a laser pointer. The two hit it off instantly. Iván is still in the closet, knowing that coming out will hurt his chances of seeing his son. This complicates his relationship with Gerardo who is out, despite his father’s disapproval. When Iván is outed, he decides to make the treacherous journey across the border to become a chef in the United States. He risks it all for a chance at a new life. But will he ever see Gerardo or his son again?

Directed by Heidi Ewing, I Carry You With Me/Te llevo conmigo is a beautiful queer love story about two Mexican men who risk it all for a better life together.  Based on a true story, the film is both documentary and feature film with footage of present day Iván and Gerardo interspersed with narrative scenes played out by actors Armond Espitia and Christian Vázquez. This film is absolutely brilliant. It tackles immigration, homophobia, queer relationships, Mexican culture, and the isolating experience of the Mexican diaspora.

This film is both heart wrenching as it is uplifting. It sends its viewers through the emotional ringer and I found myself deeply invested in Iván and Gerardo’s story. Espitia and Vázquez really deliver with their performances. And to top it all off, the food Iván creates looks absolutely delicious. Don’t watch this film on an empty stomach. 

“For this film, I came to the conclusion that it needed to be told in a different format than what I’d done before. This story took place over generations and so the movie would need a sweeping, romantic quality to it. I wanted to see and feel their youth and experience their love. It felt deeply cinematic by nature and just needed a different treatment entirely.”

Director Heidi Ewing

I Carry You With Me/Te llevo conmigo is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics and is currently out in theaters and available on demand.

Our Mothers/Nuestras madres

Sometimes you have to reopen a wound and let it bleed before it can fully heal. In director César Díaz’s new drama Our Mothers/Nuestras madres, the trauma of the Guatemalan Civil War is brought to light four decades later. The film addresses the emotional damage that the Guatemalan genocide caused those who were left behind. Guerilla fighters were brutally killed and buried in unmarked graves. Their wives were imprisoned, tortured and raped.

Ernesto (Armando Espitia), a young and idealistic anthropologist, is devoting his life’s work to reunited the dead with the living. His motivations go far beyond mere benevolence. Ernesto’s own father was one of the many fighters who went missing. As he searches for his father’s grave site, his mother, Cristina (Emma Dib), refuses to participate and keeps the story of her trauma closely guarded. In the search for his father, Ernesto is about to uncover the truth about himself.

“In Guatemalan Indian oral tradition things must be spoken for them to exist. When a newcomer arrives in a village, that person is told what happened at this place so that it is never forgotten.”

Director César Díaz

Our Mothers/Nuestras madres channels the grief of a hurting nation. The film is set in 2018 when war crimes of the late ’70s and early ’80s were finally being brought to trial. The story is inspired by filmmaker César Díaz’s own journey to learn about his father, a guerilla fighter who died during the Civil War. While a male protagonist and a male filmmaker guide the story, the film is essentially about the women, survivors of the Guatemalan genocide who were tortured and raped and left without the closure needed to properly mourn a lost loved one. Don’t be put off by the heavy subject matter. Our Mothers/Nuestras madres is more hopeful than it is depressing. There is a sense throughout the story that these characters are finally going to heal their emotional wounds and move forward with their lives.

Our Mothers/Nuestras madres is available through virtual cinemas nationwide. Visit the official website for more information.

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