Sexuality and repression in Guatemala examined

May 3, 2019

Tremors (Temblores)
Directed by Jayro Bustamante
Starring María Telón Soc, Juan Pablo Olyslager & Pedro Javier Silva Lira
Showing nationally as part of the Spanish Film Festival

Some of the most interesting movies in this year’s Spanish Film Festival come from Latin America and among them is this Guatemalan feature.

The story is of a comfortably wealthy middle-aged man, respectably married and part of an extended, conservative family, who finds himself in love with another man.

The claustrophobic social relations are matched by the thick humidity pervading Guatemala City that you can almost feel coming off the screen. This is a society in which the wealthy are willing to intimidate their loved ones back into the suffocating family fold — but persistent Earth tremors threaten everything.

A fascinating feature of this film is the inner workings of the Pentecostal protestant church to which the family belongs. The pastor’s wife deserves a film all of her own. She is one of the most finely-wrought villains of recent cinema.

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