›› I Am Happiness on Earth - Yo Soy la Felicidad de Este Mundo
a film by Julián Hernández.
2014 | 122 mins | Mexico.
principal players: Hugo Catalán / Emiliano, Alan Ramírez / Octavio, Emilio von Sternenfels / Jazén, Gerardo del Razo / Jonas, Javier Oliván, Gabino Rodríguez, Andrea Portal, Iván Álvarez, Emmanuel Ávalos, Rocío Reyes, Giovanna Zacarías and with the special participation of Gloria Contreras.
with the voices of: Patricia Madrid and Mauricio Rico.
Adapted Synopsis: "Emiliano is a man struggling with the line between his sexually charged reality and his equally arousing cinematic creations. Filming the intimate moments of a group of male dancers, he comes to form an impassioned relationship with Octavio; one of his subjects, only to find it impossible to remain faithful, so entering into a series of sexual encounters with handsome street hustlers."
Every Julián Hernández film is an event, given you know that what you are about to experience will equate to a sensuous exploration of life and love. And this, his latest feature, is certainly true to form, wonderfully illustrating the relationship highs and lows in the lives of Emiliano; a film director with a passion for dancers and Octavio; a pretty boy dancer with a love of film. That the two soon become one is of no surprise, as too is the shaky foundation upon which their relationship is build, given Emiliano's incessant craving for hustlers, his suicidal approach to monogamy a reflection of his view of marriage as an obsolete relationship, destined to fall apart. Only is this but a mask for a man with a broken heart?
A sensual depiction of sexual desire, in I Am Happiness on Earth.
Whatever way, this is not just their story, as to the delight of some and I dare say to the frustration of others, Hernández scores his cinematic song with a sexually explicit middle eight, as Javier Oliván, previously seen in Hernández's Raging Sun, Raging Sky, is soon to be coupled with another man and women. The result is a sexually charged threesome, a masturbation styled sequence that frankly and in spite of all of its artistic elements, including a series of poetic-like verses delivered voice-over fashion, nevertheless plays like a scene from another film, even if you're not quite sure if this erotic intermission is meant to be a scene from Emiliano's film, or not?
Intercut with the odd burst into song, together with a series of beautifully shot sequences that capture the toned bodies of a troupe of dancers in all of their sublime grace, including the ever nimble work of renowned Mexican dancer and choreographer Gloria Contreras, Hernández's films are certain to divide opinion and this is no exception. Yet there's a lot to like here and for those who relish his directorial style, then the good folk at Peccadillo Pictures have added four of his short films to the mix, totally sixty minutes worth of bonus DVD material.
As to the story on offer here and that of the relationship between Emiliano and dancing cutie Octavio, together with the often naked hustler that is Jazén, suffice to say that their tales come full circle; albeit not in the way you may expect. Then again, this is more than just a sensual depiction of sexual desire, as Hernández in his trademark style wonderfully lays bare the art of seduction, that of the very spark of attraction, only for it to dim, leaving a profound sense of regret bleeding from the film's hedonistic heart. The man-candy however is gorgeous, as too is much of the film, even if it's difficult to make out what it is saying. Yet such is all part of Hernández's vision. For like a celluloid jigsaw puzzle, Hernández has assembled the often laconic parts of his feature with great care. The picture however is perhaps best known only to him.
Gay Visibility - overt.
Nudity - sexually explicit.
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars.