DIRECTOR: FABIAN HERNANDEZ STARRING: DILAN FELIPE RAMIREZ ESPITIA, JUANITA CARRILO ORTIZ, JHONATHAN STEVEN RODRIGUEZ RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 21 MINUTES
Carlos lives in a youth shelter in the centre of Bogota. It's Christmas and Carlos longs to spend the day with his mother and sister. As he leaves the shelter, Carlos is confronted with the rigor of the streets in his neighbourhood, where the law of the strongest rules. As he seeks for a family reunion, Carlos must show he can be one of them.
“It’s difficult to understand what it means to grow up without a family.”
A Male is the International Feature submission for Colombia. It’s the directorial debut for Fabian Hernandez and his film is about a 16 year old boy named Carlos who is temporarily living in a homeless shelter in Bogota. His mother is in jail and his sister is a prostitute so he dreams for the day when the three of them can be reunited again and to live like a family.
In the meantime, Carlos begins working with a new gang by selling drugs and cigarettes to the other men living in the shelter. He tries to act tough in front of everyone, to be a man, to hide his emotions because “men don’t cry” but deep down inside he is scared and lonely and hiding his true self. It’s the only way to survive under these circumstances. As he gets more and more involved with his gang members, Carlos is forced to make a life changing decision.
Fabian Hernandez’s film creates a world of young men growing up in a brutal neighbourhood in Bogota. The virility, the masculinity, the dignity, the sexuality are all ingrained in the lives of these men who live on the streets and fight for survival. The stereotypical masculinity is shown on the exterior, from their attitudes, their clothes, their haircuts rather than the person’s interior.
Carlos has a desire to be his true self, but every time he goes out on the street, his inner self is forced to adapt to a machismo culture that relies on homophobia, violence and rituals that are inevitably linked to crime. “The streets shape you and make you into a bad person.” Carlos cries alone, he expresses his sexuality alone, he faces life altering choices alone. A man is so much more than the image they’re forced to portray on the outside, and the outcome is the loss of one’s self.
Life is sadly a matter of a coin toss. And for those on the wrong side, it is nothing more than survival, without family and without the ability to grow up as one’s true self. You show up and nobody wants you.