José (19 years old) lives with his Mother (50s) in Guatemala City – a typical lower-class existence in one of the world’s most dangerous, religious, and impoverished countries. She never had a husband, and José is her youngest and favourite child. Her life is her church, and selling sandwiches at a bus stop. José spends his days on cramped buses and heavy traffic as he runs food to waiting drivers. Aloof and resigned to things as they are, he fills his free moments playing with his phone and random sex arranged on street corners and dating apps. When he meets Luis, a migrant from the rural Caribbean coast, they pursue an unexpected relationship and José is thrust into passion and pain and self-reflection that was previously unimaginable.
Made with nonprofessional actors, this is a film about love, loss and queer desire lived in the shadows of a culture defined by crime, violence, macho attitudes, strict religious beliefs and binding family ties.
Guatemala is one of the world’s most dangerous, religious, impoverished and socially conservative countries – and with the youngest population in all the Americas it’s edge-poised for change; it sets a particular dramatic context to the story.

  • Year:
  • Runtime:
    85 min.
  • Country:
  • Director:
    Li Cheng
  • Screenplay:
    Li Cheng, George F Roberson
  • Dir. of Photography:
    Paolo Giron
  • Music:
    Yao Chen
  • Editor:
    Lenz Claure
  • Cast:
    Enrique Salanic, Manolo Herrera, Ana Cecilia Mota
  • Production:
    YQstudio LLC
  • Sales:
  • Festivals:
    Venice 2018 (Queer Lion), Sao Paulo 2018, Rio de Janeiro 2018, Thessaloniki 2018

About the Director:

Li Cheng

born and raised in China and moved to the USA in 1999. Cheng holds PhD from the Rutgers University. He has been world-nomad since 2016. A keen observer of people, society and crisis, he's travelled extensively in the USA and has broad international experience in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North Africa. He made his first feature fiction film Joshua Tree (2014 –included in the Competition of First and Second Fiction Features of 2014 Bratislava IFF) in USA. He spent most of the last two years in Guatemala where he shot his second film José (2018).