A Thousand Clouds Of
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
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