Current & Upcoming Films
FRAMELINE 37: Gay Latino Los Angeles
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Menendez
Situated in various locations throughout the City of Angels, Jonathan Menendez’s braided documentary Gay Latino Los Angeles presents the frank, compelling testimonials of three Latino twenty-somethings from different backgrounds and charts their self-discovery and growth over a two-year period. Alex is a Mexican hipster whose hopes for an education and a better life in the U.S. are compromised by his undocumented status. Brian is a Salvadoran who—though educated at UC Berkeley—lacks confidence to enter the workplace even as he yearns to better the world through engaged activism. And Carlos is a Chicano homeboy from South LA whose party lifestyle is self-destructive compensation for not being able to fully come out of the closet. Menendez nests these three testimonials within imagery of an Indigenous tradition that asserts that the search for identity among gay Latinos will lead to the recovery of a rich, neglected history specific to the region.
In episodic turns, Alex, Brian, and Carlos demonstrate the dynamic reality of being gay and Latino in LA through their shared experience of negotiating their sexual orientation with their religious upbringing, being abandoned by their families, hiding behind subcultural shields of machismo, and fighting for human rights in an unjust and homophobic society. Through a snapshot of individual lives, Gay Latino Los Angeles reveals the rites of passage that young gays face in their inspiring journey to self-acceptance.
— MICHAEL GUILLÉN