Titolo in inglese: Vacanze
Diretto da Diego Araujo
I?ve seen two Spanish-language GTMs recently that feature characters from disparate social and economic classes, the other being Peyote, proveniente dal Messico. Entrambe le opere drammatizzano i diversi modi in cui gli individui si avvicinano al desiderio, come gli individui permettono al desiderio di avvicinarsi a loro e come le regole e le usanze che circondano l'espressione dei desideri omosessuali differiscono o sono simili tra le diverse classi e tipologie di uomini e ragazzi.
In Feriado [Amazon] the additional wrinkle is that the main protagonist’s object of desire is not only from a different socio-economic class, but also has a different racial ancestry. Juan Pablo is a 16-year-old upper-class Ecuadorian ? his father runs a bank. He’s on holiday at his equally wealthy aunt and uncle?s hacienda. I?m assuming he’s from Quito, based on the urban skyline that opens the film and gets featured toward its end, but I can?t remember its being stated.
While at a family party near the hacienda in the country, Juan Pablo catches two young guys stealing hubcaps off the rich folks? cars. All hell breaks loose as the men and boys chase down the thieves and end up catching one and beating the crap out of him. Juan Pablo?s stomach turns at the sight and he can?t watch.
Rather than returning to the party, shy, quiet Juan Pablo wanders around and runs into the second would-be thief and inadvertently helps him escape from the searchers and their dogs. Juan Pablo, known to his family as Juampi, jumps on the back of the fleeing boy?s motorcycle and ends up going home with him to meet his family, and to find his missing friend whom the cops have taken away.
It turns out that the boy?s family is Quichua, or at least partly Quichua. (Find out more about I Quichua. I Quichua sono la popolazione indigena più numerosa dell'America Latina, eppure hanno una minuscola voce su Wikipedia). Juano è anche un blackmetalero ?he loves black metal ?and he has long black hair that?s usually held back in a dense ponytail. Juampi, by contrast, gets mistaken for an Argentine by a young, modern Quichua woman who tries to seduce him later at a party. In other words, he looks white European.
Il luogo in cui vivono i due ragazzi non potrebbe essere più diverso. Juampi vive in un grattacielo con i suoi genitori. Il suo edificio ha un portero, whose skin is a few shades darker than Juampi?s but about the same as Juano?s. It?s there that Juampi kisses his new friend, who returns it at first, probably because of all the alcohol the two had drank on the rooftop together, and then thinks better of it, escaping quickly on his motorbike back to his small village, his rough, cement-block hut with its dirty, unfinished, spare-wood door.
I was mostly bored with the film?s familiar and often awkward presentation of an adolescent?s coming out and more intereseted in the details of the characters? cultural and social settings. Writer and director Diego Araujo not only contrasts Juampi?s and Juano?s but situates the impossibilitiy of their friendship within the broader economic crisis that engulfed Ecuador in 1999. Juano?s grandmother, Mama Rosa, in fact, lost her savings due to the shady dealings of Jaumpi?s father. But she?s not alone in that. Millions lost their savings, as well, and 70% of banks closed. The banking crisis of 1998-1999 resulted in Ecuador?s abandoning its own currency. Now it?s US dollar-based.
On the way out of the house to deliver a final message to Juano, Juampi ignores his family?s pow-wow with their lawyers, as they come to realize that they, the rich, stand to lose everything, too. So it?s fitting that Juano rejects Jaumpi, handing him back his little page of poetry and a drawing of the two of them together on the roof, looking at the world together upside down.
Jaumpi: I love to see the city like this, upside down. Sometimes I just stare and stare, and I stare for so long I don?t know anymore?if it?s me that?s upside down?or the city?
Juano, che lo guarda un po' incredulo: I think it?s the city, yo.
Ed entrambi ridono.
This is my favorite scene in the film, and also the only one in which Araujo breaks away from traditional narrative and visual normativity. Not because the view is flipped but because the succession of images could not possibly have been visible from the boys? vantage point on the roof, unless we think about who?s looking and how. So, the view from there becomes political, for us and for them.
So there?s an implicit critique of certain class-based ways of looking at life, and a gentle ribbing of youthful poeticism, and what it takes to live wherever one is. Juampi comes off as clueless and slow, an assessment that?s confirmed in the film?s weak final scene, in which a worldly friend, a young woman, comes right out and asks him if he likes guys. His pauses were interminable for me, but he eventually says, Creo que sí. Lui la pensa così.
If Araujo had been less preoccupied with the coming-out narrative and its tropes and better at integrating Ecuadorian history and culture, which he?s clearly interested in, as well, I would have enjoyed the film more. But perhaps the real fault is having such a dull character at its center, and directing to convince us of that, over anything else. It?s hard to imagine Jaumpi doing some of the things that were necessary to keep the film going ? jumping on the back of the motorcycle while it?s in motion and kissing Juano out of the blue, to name two.
Tuttavia, come tutti i film che apprezzo, mi ha spinto a fare delle ricerche sui Quichua e sull'Ecuador e a considerare quanto sia comune il tropo delle relazioni amorose interculturali, non solo nel cinema ma anche nella letteratura, almeno a partire da Romeo e Giulietta.