There's a brilliant new gay-themed film from an unlikely source.
Peruvian and Native American film director Peter Bratt and his hunky actor brother from TV's Law & Order, Benjamin Bratt, bring to life a complex relationship between a hyper-masculine Latino/Indigenous man, Che Rivera, and his gay son, Jess. The movie begins with Jes hiding being gay from everyone in his community, showing that coming out and being gay - even in San Francisco - is not easy.
Jes deals with homophobia from his dad, schoolmates, and neighbors as he tries to be himself in the inner city Mission district of San Francisco. His dad, like far too many parents who are narcissistically injured by their children not following in their footsteps, becomes violent and kicks his son out of the house when he discovers he is gay.
The film is not easy to watch.
The gay son is beaten viciously by the man who should love him. The Bratt Brothers literally do not hold any punches in this film. But through the beating scenes, there are many characters who are accepting of Jes including an African American female neighbor, a Native American elder, a nurse, and Jes's white boyfriend's mom. The message is clear - rejecting someone, especially a child, because they are gay or expecting them to "not flaunt it" is out of step and unloving.
I really enjoyed this film and was thrilled to see Peter and Benjamin Bratt tackle this topic. Peter is also a sun dancer which means that he's participated in one of the most powerful spiritual ceremonies that a Native man can engage in and for Natives in the know, revered Native American Spiritual Leader Richard Moves Camp plays the supportive elder.
Throughout the ridicule and rejection Jes stays strong, but you'll have to see the movie to find out how it ends. Rent it in honor of November's Native American Heritage Month.