film note: Trémulo

A Mexican barbershop duet. In color!

Trémulo
Directed by Roberto Fiesco
20 min, Mexico, 2015

Working again with the gliding camera of cinematographer Alejandro Cantú, an auteur in his own right, and collaborating with the great gay director Julián Hernández on the script, Roberto Fiesco creates another beautiful throwback to popular classic Hollywood (and French & Italian) in-color filmmaking from the late 60s and 70s. Trémulo may be even better than his David from 2005, at least in terms of its mastery of mise-en-scène. It’s more or less equal in its emotional impact and in its evocation and reworking of canonical (and heterosexist) cinematic language.

The threesome transforms a closed Mexican barber shop, mostly at night during a fireworks-filled holiday, into the most naturally romantic setting, previously unimaginable, for a flirtation, a first date, and a plot-twist fake-out. A brief dancing interlude and a passionate kiss goodbye, along with other elements, such as a lush, selectively saturated, vintage color palette and a bevy of sexy close-ups, make this short feel like the two gorgeous young men are about to burst into song at any moment, in a wide array of emotional tones and tenors, just like in a Hollywood musical. The film is so full of emotional ideas, we might not even realize it’s a coming-of-age tale until the short’s final shot, a boy’s look of wakefulness directly into the camera.

Plus, Trémulo sure is a lot more fun and beautiful than La La Land.

This YouTube video will probably disappear, but you can see Trémulo, along with 4 other short films from Mexico, in a compilation called Mexican Men.

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Trémulo, gay Mexican short film
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