Jesús poster

Jesús movie poster

Using a real crime as its premise – the beating of a gay teenager in Santiago, Chile – writer/director Fernando Guzzoni’s sophomore feature delivers a stark portrait of hapless Chilean youth.

An aspiring boyband performer, Jesús (Nicolás Durán) seems to symbolize a doomed Chilean generation. Lacking drive and ambition, he spends most of his energy on partying, getting drunk, high, having bisexual encounters and watching real-life cartel execution videos. He is unable to accomplish anything, whether it’s graduating, being a successful performer or taking care of himself.

Unsurprisingly, his lifestyle ends up getting him in trouble on a fateful drunken night, when he and his friends beat up badly another kid in a park. Scared and remorseful, he has no other choice than to turn to his dad (Alejandro Goic – Neruda, No) for help, even though he knows his father is fed up with his antics.

While the true events used as a basis for this story have become a symbol of anti-homophobia in Chile, Mr. Guzzoni goes way beyond this theme to create an unapologetic depiction of misguided kids. Most of the characters depicted are not totally bad or homophobic – some are gay or bisexual – but they are indolent, lost and their lack of moral values is what ultimately dooms them, making their acts unforgivable.

Talking about kids, Mr. Guzzoni’s realistic and very graphic approach is reminiscent of Larry Clark’s universe (Ken Park, Bully), except that his vision is darker and more introspective. To be frank, this isn’t a film for everybody: providing a pretty painful experience for the audience, this movie makes you clearly feel that Jesús advances slowly towards an inexorable fate that will not only question your moral values but might event torment some.

While Mr. Guzzoni’s rough filmmaking style creates a strong impressio, Nicolás Durán’s fearless performance – along Alejandro Goic’s subdued and haunting presence – is probably what makes Jesús such a striking work.

Director: Fernando Guzzoni – Actors: Nicolás Durán, Alejandro Goic – Running Time: 1:25 – Year: 2016 – Country: Chile
Click here to watch the Jesús trailer
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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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