10 December 2008

Cachorro | Bear Cub

Cachorro or Bear Cub is a film that treads into a pretty difficult terrain of parenthood and homosexuality. The film is set in the metropolitan city of Madrid, one of the most tolerant cities on earth. The film centres around Pedro, a hunky dentist who prefers a single, yet sexually active life. However, his sister's visit to India affects his ideal life of a gay bachelor, as she leaves Bernardo, her nine-year-old son, with him.

Of course, you might easily predict what the film will be about: the positive relationship between the boy and his uncle, where both try to adjust themselves and learn about each other. With his sister being incarcerated in India for possession of drugs, Pedro realises that her stay in India will be extended for years. However, he is not concerned as Bernardo is pretty liberal and knows a lot about life more than he expects. This certainly strengthens their friendship and understanding, until the day Bernardo's evil grandmother steps in and asks him to leave for Valencia.

This turn of plot is pretty cliche as we are quite familiar with the motif of a wicked grandmother-cum-witch against that of the benign uncle-cum-prince. The political ideology reflects the contemporary climate whereby anything traditional is being cast as negative and gay people, by contrast, are aligned with the transgressive or the liberal.

What this film does is pretty much traditional in the sense that gay people are portrayed as leftist and leading a transgressive lifestyle as could normally be found in such magazines as Attitude or Gay Times. The characterisation of Pedro is so stereotypical to the extent that he can be labelled a 'traditional' gay who enjoys smoking pot and uninhibited sex. The portrayal of which has become an indelible, lasting impression not only on the mind of straight people, but gay people too.

What I perhaps would like to see is a more subtle depiction of gay characters, whose lives are not dictated by gay lifestyle magazines, gay people who question their own identity or who have problems conforming to gay lifestyle as promoted by magazines or credit card companies. That surely would be a way forward.

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