Sunday, August 15th, 2021

Queerguru reviews THE BEST FAMILIES a comedy of errors by Javier Fuentes-León (Undertow)


Its been 12 years since Peruvian writer/director Javier Fuentes-León’s award-winning queer fantasy/romance  UNDERTOW grabbed all our attention. Not just because an LGBTQ film from his country is still a rarity but because it was such a remarkable and wonderful ghost story.  This tale of a married fisherman who struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town’s rigid traditions was a major breakthrough for Fuentes-León and so it’s with quite exciting trepidation we get to review this latest film of his.  No spoilers here, but he doesn’t disappoint.

Best Families is a wonderful black comedy of manners set in Lima and is the tale of two wealthy aristocratic families who live in adjoining mansions.  Fuentes-León is keen to remind us that their old upstairs-downstairs indulgent lifestyles are a thing of the past as he sets the action outside of their estates with two major political protests that pack the streets that day

The real joy of the story as it unfolds it seems that everyone in the two families and their staff led by fiercely competitive matriarchs are hiding their own secrets.

Fuentes-León starts the action with two maids, Luzmila (Tatiana Astengo) and Peta (Gabriela Velásquez) who are also sisters, living in their favela-like homes, and having to get a series of buses to finally get to work.  That’s where they split as one works for Alicia (Grapa Paola) and the other for Carmen (Gracia Olayo), and we see them next waiting on their mistresses in bed as they are gossiping on the phone to each other.

Today Alicia is telling Carmen of her plans for a big dinner party to celebrate the arrival of her son Andres (César Ritter) from Spain, where he has been living and working as a writer for a number of years. He is dating a young woman named Merche (Jely Reátegui) and she is accompanying him from Madrid. Alicia is boasting about this because Andres used to date Carmen’s son Mariano (Marco Zunino).

When it comes time for the lunch later that day it turns out that this is not the only potential problem brewing for the family.  For when the couple arrives from Spain, Alvaro (Giovanni Ciccia), Carmen’s eldest son goes pale white as does Luzmilla the maid as they both realize they know exactly who Merche is.

In this delightful fast-paced farce-like comedy that follows in the so-called “little house” on the property line between the two estates. ensures that his large (and very talented) cast all have their moment in the limelight. There is Mamama Tete (Sonia Seminario), who spends most of the day hiding in the so-called “little house” on the property line between the two estates. She is smoking weed that Sandra, Alicia’s youngest daughter, buys and hides for her.

Full credit to Fuentes-León for engaging us thoroughly that we end up sitting on the edges of our seats with such curiosity on how it’s all going to end.  No clues here, but we are especially pleased that he avoided giving the gay storyline an obvious conclusion.

To our knowledge this is probably the 4th Peruvian with an LGBTQ story line ever, we so hope that Fuentes-León doesn’t make up wait too long for no 5.  Especially if it is as excellent as this one.

N.B. The Best Families from Latido Films is screening at Outfest Film Fest in LA 

Posted by queerguru  at  12:05

Genres:  comedy, dramedy, international

Follow queerguru

Search This Blog

View queertiques By: