“The Strong Ones” (Los Fuertes)

I have reviewed a couple dozen LGBT films and like any film they run from terrible to superb. I have never really endorsed a film being categorized as LGBT. Do we categorize films as being “heterosexual”?

However as the LGBT community has been oppressed for so long it is no surprise that such a genre exists. Not all countries have an open LGBT culture or community. Some countries make it a crime to be a homosexual. In many countries it is treated as shameful. There can be many viewers of an LGBT film simply because it has LGBT characters in it. Sort of like drinking or eating local if you want to support local.

So one must take into consideration where an LGBT film has been made. What might appear mundane in the North American market my be courageous in other countries. In Chile between 1973-90 when military dictator Pinochet was in power many gays disappeared or were murdered but at least in Santiago queer culture is becoming more acceptable but such is less likely in smaller urban areas and towns.

This film is set in the Chilean town of Valdivia a costal town in Southern Chile.

One receives an impression from the film that homosexuality is tolerated but is not openly expressed. As director Omar Zúñiga states, “I wanted to tell a story of love between two men who know what they want and that they are also different from each other, with different life experiences and ways of seeing things. I wanted to tell this story without guilt, trauma, or discovery: in a way, I haven’t seen enough. With this movie, I want to say that we are here, that we deserve a space in the places where we live, and that we will not let ourselves be carried away searching for our independence.”

In the film there is virtually no hostility toward Lucas, a student and Antonio who works on a trawler catching sardines. Lucas’ family who he is visiting from Santiago isn’t exactly proud but nary a word of criticism. Yet the budding relationship between Lucas and Antonio is clandestine so being gay in Chile requires discretion particularly in this smaller seaside town. Love here is temporary but it conquers class divides. So being left alone and not harassed is a step in a progressive direction but the secretive nature of their brief amorous relationship shows all to well the LGBT community in Chile has a way to go but at least gays are no longer “disappearing”.

In the end take gender out of this and we are dealing with a romance movie. For LGBT viewers this is a film that attempts to legitimize LGBT relationships. For “straights” watch this and you’ll get a sense of the headwind’s gays face.

Beautiful shots of the Chilean coast that will certainly please all audiences.

You can see the trailer here  https://tinyurl.com/y259uuow

It is in Spanish with English subtitles and is 98 minutes long. It has won numerous awards and accolades including best director and runner up as best international film at Out on Film Canadian Festival. Of course, you can catch the film virtually so click here to find the detailshttps://www.bgpics.com/movies/the-strong-ones/

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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