Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Directed by: #ZiyiJin
Short film review by: Brian Penn
To be gay in an apparently straight world is a challenge for those who strive for acceptance over toleration. However, a small village in the devoutly Roman Catholic Mexico is not the obvious place for sexual freedom to flourish. This aesthetically pleasing film from Ziji Jin tracks the repressed feelings of an older man when his true love seemingly walks away. The Spanish translation of the film’s title is an infinitely more poetic Caballos Blancos, Mina De Plata. It may be a euphemism for the sacrifices we make in pursuit of life’s treasure; but this film delivers something much more prosaic and affecting.
Juan (Juan de la Loza) is a hard bitten mine owner whose under paid workforce are on the verge of collapse. An empty mine has left hungry mouths to feed. They quit en masse but one worker Sebastian (Vicente Ferri) finds it more difficult to leave. Stolen glances clearly suggest their relationship goes deeper than master and servant. Juan’s son Alex (Brayan Jaramillo Martínez) feels attached to Sebastian who has become his friend. The boy senses they should be together and understands the pain of separation.
The vast expanse of Mexican countryside is used to stunning effect with some crystal clear visuals. Dialogue is used sparingly across the piece as the audience is left to find a silent story in the eyes of Juan. This works reasonably well as Sebastian and Alex are more demonstrable in the narrative. However, Juan could have used more dialogue to even out the overly strong persona he readily adopts. Nevertheless, it’s a smartly captured story of how opposites can be drawn to each other; one in complete denial of his feelings while the other overflows with affection. Typically, it’s Brayan Jaramillo Martínez as Alex who steals the show as the boy who shows maturity beyond his years; a salutary reminder to tell people how you feel about them.