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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Gay > Foreign > Mexico > Latino Cinema > A Thousand Clouds Of Peace

A Thousand Clouds Of Peace (Mexico)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C-     Film: B-



A young high school dropout (Juan Carlos Ortuno) is lost in life and takes up being a rent boy, but besides having no hope for a better future, is in pain after losing his male lover in A Thousand Clouds Of Peace (2003).  The Mexican black and white film dares to defy assumes macho masculine aspects of Mexican cinema beyond what kind of film stock it is shot in and becomes a thoughtful mediation on existence, especially for gay males in a society not as tolerant as others.


The film is limited in dialogue, but still has enough of a narrative to follow our protagonist throughout his sad driftings.  His encounters offer intimate contact, but the sex is never hardcore or stupid, though nudity is here.  It should be noted that the idea of Hispanics with frontal nudity in serious films (outside of XXX films and novelty programs) is still rare and the act of showing a Hispanic male that way is still considered daring at a time when most clothed Hispanics still remain surprisingly invisible.


Writer/director Julian Hernandez has created a short (80 minutes) but to the point portrait of desperation and in an intelligent way that extends to any viewer, no matter their sexuality.  It is as much a purely cinematic exercise as anything and understands the power of silence, making for a mature film (for a change) about some serious and important issues to consider.


The letterboxed 1.85 X 1 image is not anamorphically enhanced, but this is the newer black and white, which means silver content is limited and even a transfer like that is only going to go so far.  Kodak stock was used in this case.  Cinematographer Diego Arizmendi does a fine writerly job of moving the camera and the inner-story forward, in the French New Wave mode.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has just enough good Pro Logic surrounds to deliver a decent sonic presentation that is modern, as the dialogue-limited sound still has its share of ambiance and some music throughout.  This was a THX-certified Dolby theatrical release.  There are no extras, but there are seven trailers for this film and four for other Strand Releasing DVD titles that may be of interest.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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