Nunca Vas a Estar Solo (You’ll Never Be Alone)
Inspired by the horrific attack upon gay Chilean Daniel Zamudio, which shocked the world in 2012, this directorial debut from musician Alex Anwandter is a deeply moving tale of grief, struggle and homophobia in contemporary Santiago.
The film presents us with the colourful and optimistic world of young Pablo (Andrew Bargsted), an aspiring queer dancer who lavishly adorns himself in sequinned dresses and heavy lipstick when no one is home. He lives with his industrious and entrepreneurial father Juan (Sergio Hernandez), who firmly believes that the capitalist ethic will be the saviour of Chile, spending almost every day working at a mannequin factory, where he dreams of one day becoming a partner.
Despite regular taunting from local bullies, Pablo is unashamed of his identity and even jokes about his own femininity, unlike his closeted childhood friend Felix. The two are engaged in a secret relationship, and we see explicit scenes of youthful passion and desire between the young lovers. However this world of hopeful optimism is soon shattered when Pablo becomes the victim of a brutal homophobic attack from a pair of thugs, who, in a display of testosterone-fuelled machismo, want to “make Pablo into a man” by beating him with glass bottles and a metal rod. As he lies weeping on the ground, Pablo pleads with Felix to help, but sadly, unable to face up to his own sexuality, he instead joins in on the attack.
After this toe-curling display of violence, the film centres around ageing Juan and his struggle to deal with the consequences. While his son lies in a coma, requiring reconstructive facial surgery, Juan must hold it together as he tries to bring the attackers to justice and grapple with both extortionate medical bills and betrayal from his long-term business associate. Pablo’s mother is mysteriously absent, and so poor Juan must face these difficulties alone.
The excellent and heartfelt performance from Hernandez means we intimately share with Juan these moments of anguish and frustration, while the haunting soundtrack (also written by Anwandter) summons a particularly poignant atmosphere throughout. You’ll Never Be Alone not only showcases Anwandter’s exceptional writing talent and ability as a skilled musician, but will leave viewers deeply disturbed that such outlandish displays of bigotry and violence still occur in our contemporary world.
Jayne Rosanna Phillips
Nunca Vas a Estar Solo (You’ll Never Be Alone) does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Nunca Vas A Estar Solo (You’ll Never Be Alone) here: