30-something bookseller Gloria (Stefania Tortorella) hasn’t experienced an orgasm yet. Tired of sleepless nights caused by her very vocal and very horny upstairs neighbors, Gloria moves into a new place for some peace and quiet. However, it’s occupied by the ghost of the man who died there weeks earlier. And he wants to give Gloria what she’s been missing. When Gloria’s best friend and coworker Sandra (Nena Pelenur) gets curious about Gloria’s newfound glow, Gloria can’t bring herself to explain that she’s hooking up with a ghost. Gloria finds herself at a crossroads when the ghost actually ghosts her, leaving her wondering if satisfaction, both emotional and sexual, can be found in the world of the living or the dead.
“The best player is not the one with the best cards but the one who knows how to best play the cards that were dealt to her.”
Written and directed by husband-and-wife filmmaking team Marcela Matta and Mauro Sarser, the Uruguayan film Ghosting Gloria/Muertos con Gloria is a paranormal delight. I love the film’s bookish vibe and the supernatural cunnilingus scenes are quite inventive and fun to watch. The story does drag on a lot longer than it should. There is a point about an hour in that feels like a natural ending point yet the film continues for another 30 minutes. It felt like 3 television episodes stitched together and I wonder if this would have worked better as a mini-series. I’m glad I kept watching because the actual ending is quite satisfying and solves a visual clue that was presented throughout the film. Definitely check this one out if you can!
Ghosting Gloria/Muertos con Gloria had its world premiere at the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival.
Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi) is a nurse working the night shift at a private hospital. He takes pity on the patients who have no chance of survival and secretly euthanizes them so they can die in peace. He’s able to commit his crime unnoticed until the arrival of a mysterious new nurse Gabriel (Ignacio Rogers). Marcos’ quiet existence is about to be thrust into utter chaos. Gabriel is a charmer, seducing the other night nurse Noelia (Lorena Vega) and ingratiating himself to upper management. But Gabriel is also killing patients and does it both with ill intentions and inhumanely. When the rise in patient deaths becomes noticeable, it’s time for Marcos and Gabriel to come face to face in a battle for survival.
Director Martin Kraut was inspired by a 2012 story about two Uruguayan nurses who were caught euthanizing patients. In an interview Kraut says:
“I am interested in investigating what happens when doctors and nurses know there is no chance of survival yet they must keep the bodies alive while they can: Keeping patients on life support or alive is also a very important and profitable business. This fact coupled with the immense power that some nurses like Marcos have while working the night shift, and who devote their time to the care of others in those conditions, can lead them to extreme situations.“
La Dosis is a restrained psychological thriller with a terrific slow build. The tension sneaks up on the viewer as the two nurses must confront their secrets. It does a great job exploring the toxic social dynamics that occur in a hospital environment between nurses, doctors, patients and management. There is an LGBTQ element to the story that isn’t explored enough to make any sense. It lacks in some character building, especially in regards to the main character Marcos. Overall, the direction, the performances, the moody lighting and slow build make this one to watch.
Kudos to whoever designed the movie’s poster because it not only captures the essence of the story and the dynamic between the two main characters, it’s also amazing how one eye can seem to belong to both men at the same time. Amazing!
La Dosis is distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films available on demand and on digital.
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.
You don’t have to be Catholic or to even be religious to be struck by Pope Francis’ brand of benevolence. He brings spiritual comfort to the masses, speaks out about ecological and economic abuses and travels to the far reaches of the planet to attend to global humanitarian crises. His handling of the church’s sex abuse scandals as well as his positions on gender in the church have brought him much criticism. But he’s not above humbling himself, apologizing for his wrongs and putting his words into actions. I grew up Protestant and no longer consider myself religious by any means. However, I have grown to admire Pope Francis as a humanitarian who continues to use his massive platform to do good around the world.
Directed by Evgeny Afineevsky, Francesco explores Pope Francis’ work as a religious icon and thought leader. It’s a sympathetic documentary that does much to present the Pope in the best light. However, Afineevsky does explore, albeit delicately, the Pope’s handling of the sex abuse scandal. Activist Juan Carlos Cruz is interviewed at length about his battle with the church on behalf of himself and other victims and his eventual meeting with the Pope. The documentary adds a 3-D effect on 2-D photos which I felt was unnecessary. It serves as a great primer to Pope Francis’ life and work. I wish it would dug deeper into the Pope’s personal connection to the teachings of Saint Francis of Assissi as well as his insistence on presenting himself as and being a humble Pope.
“Francesco is not a biographical film about Pope Francis in the traditional sense. Rather it is a film that shows us the world as it is today and a path to understanding what a better future of tomorrow can be, as seen through the remarkable work of the Pope.”
Director Evgeny Afineevsky
Francesco releases in theaters nationwide today and streams on Discovery+ on March 28th.
For Vada (Jenna Ortega), it was just an ordinary day at her high school. After a false alarm from her younger sister Amelia (Lumi Pollack), Vada hangs out in the bathroom with fellow student Mia (Maddie Ziegler), a beautiful Instagram dancer. They catch each other’s eye but that moment of flirtation is ripped away from them when they hear gunshots. A shooter causes chaos in the school, killing some and injuring others. Vada and Mia’s lives will never be the same again. After the shooting, Vada spends her days avoiding school, drinking with Mia, getting high and going to therapy. Her parents Patricia (Julie Bowen) and Carlos (John Ortiz) try their best to give Vada space to recover. But how do you life your life after such a traumatic event?
Directed by Megan Park, The Fallout is a coming-of-age story that will ring true for many young people who unfortunately have suffered through this kind of trauma. Mass shootings are a reality of American life and despite what your thoughts are on gun control, it’s important for us to see how these events affect its victims. The Fallout is a poignant story about one young person’s response to trauma and in the same way it’s a universal tale about growing up, finding yourself and surviving something horrific. Audiences will appreciate the LGBTQ and BIPOC inclusivity.
The Fallout had its world premiere at the virtual 2021 SXSW Film Festival.