Winner of multiple awards, including the Queer Lion from the 75th Annual Venice Film Festival, José is a gripping, layered and beautifully honest story about one working class young man’s struggle to find himself. Made in the neorealist filmmaking tradition, the film delivers a nuanced and vivid look at being gay in Central America.
José (played by magnetic newcomer Enrique Salanic) lives with his mother (Ana Cecilia Mota) in Guatemala City, where they survive on her selling sandwiches at bus stops and with him working at a local restaurant. It is a poor and sometimes dangerous country where, dominated by conservative Catholic and Evangelical Christian religion, living one’s life as an openly gay man is hard for José to imagine.
His mother has never had a husband. And though José is at the edge of manhood at 19-years old, he is her youngest and favorite child and she is determined to hold on to him.
Reserved and private, José fills his free moments playing with his phone and random sex with other men arranged on street corners and dating apps. When he meets attractive and gentle Luis (Manolo Herrera), a migrant from the rural Caribbean coast, they pursue an unexpected relationship with more emotion than José has ever felt. He is quickly thrust into new passion, pain and self-reflection that push him to rethink his life even as he is reluctant to take a leap of faith.