East Side Story
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East Side Story

USA, 2006, 88 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Gay, Latino/a
Program: U.S. Features
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Carlos Portugal

Gay African Americans and gay Asian Americans have seen their lives portrayed onscreen; now, filmmaker Carlos Portugal looks at the gay Latino experience. The director’s debut feature follows the trials and tribulations of Diego (René Alavarado), a Chicano living in East Los Angeles. Things aren’t working out that well for Diego: He spent years in culinary school but is stuck serving dinner specials in the family restaurant, his old neighborhood is being gentrified by rich Caucasians, and living with his grandmother makes it hard to play kinky bad border cop/illegal alien games with his boyfriend Pablo (David Berón). That is, when Pablo even admits that they’re dating; lately, he seems to prefer schtupping Diego’s horny aunt (Gladys Jimenez) in an effort to scare himself straight.
Into Diego’s life walks Wesley (Steve Callahan), his hunky new next-door neighbor. Sparks start flying immediately, but there are a number of obstacles that stand in the way of these soul mates, including evil ex-lovers, familial pressures, changing social tides and old world racial and sexual prejudices. Can this couple survive the perils of modern interracial relationships and make it to happily ever after? Funny, poignant and bold enough to look at the gay Latino experience with an unflinching eye, Portugal’s dramedy lays it all on the line. You’ll want to take a walk on the east side. — DAVID FEAR


International Latino Film Festival-San Francisco Bay Area


ON Magazine

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