Latin Boys Go to Hell

Nashville Scene

DIRECTED BY: Ela Troyano

REVIEWED: 10-05-98

Not unlike Star Maps, this indelibly vivid, Brooklyn-set sex-melodrama posits Latino culture against the Anglo-American "show business" milieu that appropriates and stereotypes it. A white woman photographer (Annie Lobst) puts together a portfolio of nude Latinos holding lurid props like corn-ears and skull-heads in front of their genitalia. The young models include Justin (Irwin Ossa), who has a crush on his cousin Angel (John Bryant Davila), and Braulio (Alexis Artiles), whose hardbody lover Carlos (Mike Ruiz) sets the plot in motion when he takes Justin from behind. Running the length of a daytime drama, LBGTH incorporates scenes from a Mexican telenovela before turning into a soap itself. First-time director Ela Troyano grooves on a kind of gay verité, juicing up the frame with nightclub brawls and cutaways to Catholic icons. In a film of remarkable style, the visual high point comes via a bombastic, pinata-popping sex scene that's laugh-out-loud funny and worth the rental price by itself.

--Rob Nelson

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