A Thousand Clouds Of Peace

"OK"

A Thousand Clouds Of Peace Review


The biggest burden A Thousand Clouds of Peace carries is its full title: A Thousand Clouds Of Peace Fence The Sky, Love; Your Being Love Will Never End, or, in the more mellifluous Spanish, Mil nubes de paz cercan el cielo, amor, jamás acabarás de ser amor. Wow, a movie with a name like that has something to live up to.

And it can't. A tale of teenage romantic obsession, it ventures inside the mind of Gerardo (Juan Carlos Ortuño), a young Mexican wandering rundown neighborhoods on the wrong side of Mexico City, and finds...not much. The blank-faced and nearly silent 17-year-old may be in torment, but he doesn't show it, and the story takes him nowhere but around in circles.

Gerardo doesn't seem particularly oppressed by his poverty or his homosexuality. What oppresses him is Bruno (Juan Carlos Torres), a sex partner (the film begins with the two of them en flagrante) with whom Gerardo has fallen madly, obsessively in love. But don't blame Bruno. The love affair is all in Gerardo's mind. The fact that Bruno tosses a few pesos at Gerardo after their romp doesn't bode well for the relationship. When he tells Gerardo, "I'll call you," you know for sure that he won't, but Gerardo is sure that he will.

For Gerardo this is love, and when Bruno drops out of sight, Gerardo goes into a tailspin, moping around the pool hall where he works and lying in his crummy room upstairs staring at the phone and willing it to ring. It doesn't.

To distract himself, Gerardo begins looking for love in all the wrong places, cruising for sex and finding it easily but still pining for Bruno. When he finds a love letter in the garbage that has nothing to do with him or Bruno, he takes it as his own, reciting it obsessively in narration. He even sets out on a journey to find an old recording of a love song he once listened to with Bruno and takes a trip to Bruno's hometown to look for him.

And that's that. Shot in absolutely gorgeous black and white (director Julián Hernández says he was inspired by the Mexican dramas he watched on black and white TVs as a child), the film looks fantastic. The camera often tracks 360 degrees around the morose Gerardo, emphasizing how trapped he feels. You get close enough to count the hairs on the back of his neck. But Ortuño isn't given much to do, and he certainly isn't given much to say. He's at his best in the Bruce Weberish moments when he's lying around feeling himself up and waiting for the now long-gone Bruno to return. The end of the film suggests a sudden psychological breakthrough, but it rings false. Nothing leading up to it has suggested that Gerardo is going to get anywhere other than down one side of the garbage-strewn street in front of him and back up the other side.

And one lonely table.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Julián Hernández

Producer:

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