Entertainment » Movies

Bittersweet Waters

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Sep 17, 2019
'Bittersweet Waters'
'Bittersweet Waters'  

Chicago based Jesús Canchola Sánchez's hauntingly beautiful film "Bittersweet Waters" is one of the most impressive LGBTQ feature film debuts we have seen in a very long time. Most of the credit goes to Sánchez, who not only wrote and directed, but also produced and starred in the film.

As the title hints, this is a bittersweet love story of two gay men who live in a tiny village in the Mexican countryside. It's the kind of place where everyone not only knows your name, but also insists of having a nose in your business. Being openly gay in this traditional and conservative backwater is not an option.

Atl (played by Sánchez) and Diego (Ramón Varela) have been lovers since they were 15 years old, and have been inseparable ever since. Now, as grown men, there is pressure on them to get married to some local girls and start their own families. Diego has relented and has been dating Dolores (Denis Montes), although he still manages to end up in Atl's bed every single night.

Things have to change when Dolores becomes pregnant and Diego has no other option than to marry her. Atl, meantime, has become independently wealthy when his father died and left him several properties. Now he has to cope with his scheming mother, who desperately wants to get her hands on some of the inheritance, which she believed should have been hers.

There is no love lost between Atl and his mother, and he looks up to his elderly paternal grandmother, who was the one that raised him and still runs the household. Both mother and grandmother are aware of Atl's sexuality and his secret liasions with Diego, but while his mother uses that as a means to get some sort hold over her son, the grandmother is completely supportive in her own silent way.

The melodrama builds, with Dolores trying to ban her husband-to-be from seeing Atl — who he obviously loves more than her — and the mother persuading her idiot gigolo boyfriend to try and rob Atl. It is obviously there has to be some changes in everyone's lives. It falls to Atl, who throughout has shown determination and glimpses of hidden strength, to come to a decision that will inevitably change all their lives... and not all for the better.

There is such a remarkable authenticity to the film that one cannot help but wonder if it is in part Sánchez's own story. Each of the characters are well-rounded and give the actors meaty roles that they can really inhabit and make significant contributions to this immensely moving story. The two men have such a perfect chemistry with each other that it makes their passion and their commitment seem very real indeed. This is, after all, neither a gay story, nor an anti-straight story; it is simply a beautifully told love story that deserves to have a happily ever after.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.


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